17/09/2010 07:45 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Why Dancing In Heels Crushes Your Toes

MorgueFile, clarita

Ever had seriously sore feet after a night of salsa dancing? If so, you'd be right to blame your shoes - but only if you were wearing heels, say British and Chinese scientists.

High heels have long been an obsession with foot health researchers, but this is the first time scientists have examined the effect ballroom and Latin dancing in heels has on your feet - and with Strictly back on our screens, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

The researchers measured the amount of pressure on the bottom of dancers' feet while they danced barefoot, and again while they danced in three different pairs of shoes with varying heel heights (1.7in, 3in and 4in, to be exact).

Anyone who's a salsa or tango fan might guess correctly how the study turned out. The researchers, writing in the International Journal of Experimental and Computational Biomechanics, discovered dancing in any heel height increases the amount of pressure on your toes, with the 4in heels tripling the pressure.

This could lead to a painful condition called plantar fasiitis, which causes the bottom of your foot to swell up as well as shooting pains in your heels. Ouch.

Dancing barefoot, on the other hand, distributes the pressure equally between the heel and the toe, say the scientists, which means your toes don't get crushed. But doing the tango in flats? Oh please, you've got to be kidding. It just wouldn't be right.

What would you sacrifice for the sake of wearing heels? We'd love to know.