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Julia Gillard's India tumble sparks rethink on killer heels

New York: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard wrapped up a successful three-day state visit to India, but her trip continues to make news for an unexpected reason. Poor Gilliard took a nasty tumble on Wednesday when her heels got stuck in the grass at the Gandhi memorial in Rajghat.

The high-heeled topple in the full glare of television cameras has sparked a debate in America about how modern women need to rethink stilettos and high heels. ABC News in America had undisguised fun with the clip of Gillard almost falling on her face, describing it as "a hostile encounter by a head of state with her own high heel shoes."

The question everyone is asking is simple: Are lusted-after high-heeled shoes worth the risk of harm and potential embarrassment?

Australia’s Herald Sun said there comes a point in every woman's life when she should say goodbye to high heels. It suggested sensibly that high heels should go the same way as foot binding and whale-bone corsetry and be left in the annals of history.

Head over heels: Julia Gillard tumbles at Rajghat. PTI

“I know high heels supposedly look more glamorous. They supposedly make your legs look longer, too. And men like them (well, I assume they do because often the ladies in the lads' mags are wearing nothing more than a pair of sky-high shoes),” said the Herald Sun.

“But is the trip hazard, the backache, the risk of bunions and — for those of us without natural poise and grace — the reality that we look like a baby giraffe clomping around on stilts really worth it? In a word, no,” it said emphatically.

Unlike Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City who chased men, taxis, and sometimes a dog in the park while teetering on 4-inch stilettos — high-heeled life in the real world can be a killer!

“I do try to coax wearers of high-heeled shoes to lessen their dependence on them and to give them up. If you wear them all the time, you can develop significant foot pain and back aches,” warned Diana Woodyard, a podiatric specialist in New York, who treats disorders of the foot and ankle.

Anytime you wear shoes that are tight or squeeze the natural shape of your foot, doctors say it's bound to cause foot pain. But when you add high heels to the equation, that pain can escalate to serious foot damage.

“Every woman knows high heels eventually kill a good night out. For some reason we, modern women, feel the need to subject ourselves to daily discomfort in order to look sexy and powerful,” harrumphed the Herald Sun.

Gillard has been getting a lot of sympathy from her girlfriends. Former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally changed her Twitter avatar to a picture of her stumbling as a show of solidarity with Gillard.

Gillard doesn’t have to run around in footwear like Mamta Banerjee’s trademark blue-and-white rubber slippers, but as a busy, career-driven woman she should discard impractical high heels.