Heeled Sneaker Craze Causes Number of Kids Injuries to Rise

Due to the current "roller shoe" craze running rampant in the U.S. and around the world, physicians are seeing kids rolling into emergency rooms in record numbers.

Due to the current "roller shoe" craze running rampant in the U.S. and around the world, physicians are seeing kids rolling into emergency rooms in record numbers.

The craze is called "heeling," named primarily after "Heelys," the No. 1 selling heeled athletic shoe in the world. It is also called "heeling" because the participant balances his body weight back on his heels causing a removable wheel set into a wheel well on the shoe's heel to protrude, creating an instant roller skating shoe.

The Associated Press is reporting that parents were warned to become aware of safety issues concerning the popular shoes.

The popular skate shoes are currently sold in more than 70 countries around the world. The shoes have become such a desired commodity that Heelys Inc. has listed a first-quarter income of $8.5 million, five times higher than last year. The company was also listed on the top of BusinessWeek's annual list of fastest growing companies. Heelys Inc. has shipped more than 10 million pairs of shoes since their introduction back in 2000. Heely's Inc. is located in Carrollton, Texas.

According to the AP, physicians from Ireland to Singapore are treating many more broken bones and concussions, at a rising rate due to falls caused from young people using the heeled sneakers while not using protective gear. In a 10-week period last summer, 67 kids were treated for injuries from the use of Heelys or one of their counterparts. Some other shoe strap on wheels are known as 'Street Gliders'. From September 2005 and December 2019, one death and 64 Roller shoe injuries were reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons based in Rosemont, Ill., is issuing new safety advice that recommends helmets and other protective padding be worn, while using roller shoes.

According to the AP, Doctor James Beaty, an Academy President of Pediatric orthopedic Surgery in Memphis, Tenn. warned: "Parents are given a false sense of security when they buy the heeled shoes in local department stores in the regular shoe section." The sneakers look much like regular gym or athletic shoes, except for the wheel well located on the heel of the sole of the shoe. The wheel may be removed for walking if desired but the shift to the heels with the person's body weight causes the wheel to pop out to allow movement.

Physicians claim that most accidents occur when a novice or inexperienced user falls or leans backwards to shift their weight to skate and then falls. One girl in Evanston, Ill. had only had her Heelys a week when she fell and broke both of her wrists. Heely Inc. includes safety information recommendations with their product and advises the use of protective gear including a helmet when using their product.

In the AP article, a foot specialist from New York claimed that balancing on heels can lead to strained feet or Achilles tendons. He refuses to purchase the roller shoes for his 7-year-old daughter because of safety issues. Just a piece of gravel or a small pebble can cause the wheels to lock up and stop the rider, immediately causing serious injury if protective gear is not worn.

Due to safety issues and annoyance factors, many schools and malls are beginning to ban the use of roller shoes. Students and shoppers are often annoyed and afraid when kids speed in and out of foot traffic, often barely avoiding a collision.