HEALTH

Forsake fashion for function, foot researchers say

BY Michael Johnsen

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Americans love high-heeled shoes. One survey in 2003 reported that 62% of American women wore shoes with a 2-inch or greater heel on a regular basis. But new findings are revealing that those shoes are taking a toll.
 
New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that high-heeled-shoe-related injuries doubled between 2002 and 2012. The findings were published online May 12 in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Injuries, and the frequency and severity of those injuries were sufficient to make the investigators suggest that wearing the appropriate shoes for the appropriate occasion and being aware of one’s surroundings are good ideas.
 
Of course, insoles may also serve to soothe aching ankle and foot injuries. However, sales of foot care devices in 2014 were relatively flat, up only 0.6% to $686 million across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. 
 
“Although high-heeled shoes might be stylish, from a health standpoint, it would be worthwhile for those interested in wearing high-heeled shoes to understand the risks and the potential harm that precarious activities in high-heeled shoes can cause,” said lead investigator Gerald McGwin, vice chair and professor of the Department of Epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health.
 
In addition to discomfort in the lower leg, ankle and foot, research has indicated that walking in high-heeled shoes has been shown to significantly reduce ankle muscle movement, step length, total range of movement and balance control. Many studies have documented that the long-term use of high heels alters the neuromechanics of walking and places greater strain on the muscles and tendons of the lower legs, which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders later in life.
 
McGwin’s team looked at data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of injuries associated with wearing high heels seen in hospital emergency departments between 2002 and 2012. There were 123,355 high-heel-related injuries seen during that period. The peak year for injuries was 2011, with more than 19,000. People between the ages of 20 and 29 were most likely to suffer an injury, followed by the 30-39 age group.
 
“Some historians suggest that high-heeled shoes have been around for nearly 300 years, and that medical professionals have been warning wearers about the dangers of such shoes for the same amount of time,” McGwin said. “While previous studies have confirmed that high heels are associated with lower extremity discomfort and musculoskeletal issues, there is very little information on the nature and frequency of these injuries, or which age groups were most affected.”
 
The vast majority of the injuries — more than 80% — were to the ankle or foot, with just under 20% involving the knee, trunk, shoulder or head and neck. More than half were strains or sprains, with fractures accounting for 19% of all injuries. 
 
“Our findings also suggest that high-heel-related injuries have increased over time, with the rate of injury nearly doubling from 2002 to 2012,” McGwin said. “We also noted that nearly half the injuries occurred in the home, which really supports the idea of wearing the right footwear for the right occasion and setting. Also, to reduce the time of exposure, we recommend that those wearing heels be aware of how often and for how long they wear them.”
 
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U.K.’s CMA still weighing in on RB acquisition of K-Y

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON – The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority may put a kink into Reckitt Benckiser's acquisition of the K-Y personal lubricant brand from Johnson & Johnson, at least in the U.K., as the regulatory authority on Friday provisionally found that Reckitt Benckiser’s anticipated acquisition of the K-Y brand could lead to higher prices for personal lubricants.
 
The deal was initially announced in March, 2014, and was expected to give Reckitt Benckiser a strong brand positioning on shelf with its Durex intimacy health portfolio and the K-Y personal lubricants.  In the U.S., sales of K-Y personal lubricants dominate the category with six SKUs ranking in top 10 brand sales. Across total U.S. multi-outlet, 2014 sales of personal lubricants totaled $215.1 million, up 2.1%, according to IRI. 
 
The deal had been completed in the North America markets by July, 2014.
 
The Competition and Markets Authority had referred the case for a phase 2 investigation in January 2015 and the inquiry group of independent CMA panel members looking at the merger has examined the companies’ internal documents, the views of competitors and retailers, sales and price data and the results of a customer survey.
 
"After considering the full range of this evidence, the group provisionally believes that on balance the merger could lead to a substantial reduction in competition, possibly through higher prices, making customers buying these products in grocery retailers and national pharmacy chains worse off," CMA stated. "K-Y and Durex hold almost three quarters of the market share in supermarkets and national pharmacies, where the majority of customers buy these products. Whilst customers can choose from a wide range of products and suppliers in specialist shops or when buying online, there is little evidence that these other outlets will act as a brake on any price rises in national chains, and smaller suppliers have historically had little success getting access to the shelves in these larger shops."
 
The CMA is inviting responses to these provisional findings and will continue to assess all the evidence before the agnecy makes its final decision.
 
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North America will dominate $52.6 billion sports-nutrition market in 2020

BY Michael Johnsen

ALBANY, N.Y. — Sales of sports nutrition products are expected to reach $52.6 billion worldwide in 2020, building from a base of $29.7 billion in 2013 and representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% from 2014 to 2020, according to a new market report published Thursday by Transparency Market Research. 
 
According to the report, “Sports Nutrition Products Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 – 2020,” regular consumers are shifting toward sports nutrition products to fortify their health and to remain active in their busy lives. These products are manufactured with ingredients like creatine, linoleic acid, caffeine and taurine. Increasing health awareness among consumers, rapid urbanization and rise in disposable income are major factors driving the demand for sports nutrition products, Transparency Market Research noted. 
 
North America held the largest market share in the sports nutrition segment and is expected to maintain that position through 2020. However, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for sports nutrition products. In addition to the Asia Pacific, Brazil, India and Argentina are some of the major markets in which demand for sports nutrition producst is escalating. 
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