Are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Jeopardizing Suri's Growth With High Heels?

Published November 20, 2009

| FoxNews.com

At just three years old, little Suri Cruise has already become a toddler fashion fashion plate. But recent photographs of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter wearing high heels on multiple occasions now have some critics pointing the finger at her famous parents.

Suri is often seen in pretty dresses and fancy ensembles, no doubt styled by her fashionable mother. But in September, some were shocked to see the teetering tot donning a pair of open toe heels about an inch high, while clutching a cup from Starbucks. Then more photos of Suri in heels surfaced Wednesday, showing that her first time out in high heels wasn't a one-time affair.

But far from being just an odd image, heels on a three-year-old can be detrimental to her physical development, according to New York podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong.

“A common side effect of adults wearing heels too often is the tightening or shortening of the Achilles tendon,” Zong told FoxNews.com “At Suri’s age, children are growing quickly, and you want everything growing at the same rate. If the tendon is not growing at the same rate as everything else, it could become a problem.”

SLIDESHOW: Click here to see the photos of Suri Cruise in heels

According to Zong, a child should ideally never wear heels, although parents often enter young girls in pageants or allow girls to play dress up in heels for a brief amount of time.

“If a parent allows their child to wear the heels in moderation, that’s one thing, but who’s to say what is moderate for a three year old child,” Zong said.

The latest image of Suri in heels was on a rainy November afternoon in Boston. As her mother wore a winter coat and rain boots, Suri stumbled through puddles in the open toe shoes without socks, even losing her footing at one point.

This concerns Zong for several reasons. First, if she has trouble maintaining her balance, she could take a dangerous fall and sustain a serious injury. Second, she could potentially damage a growth plate with unforgiving shoes.

“With an adult, [high] heels that don’t fit properly can lead to hammer toes or bunions, but an adult’s growth plate is closed. With a child that young, her growth plate is still open, so a pair of heels that is too tight could damage the growing bones of her feet.”

According to Zong, a child’s foot size can change in just one month, so its important for parents to constantly check the child’s foot size. Suri has been photographed in the same pair of heels several months apart.

“A child’s proper growth could face serious problems if a growth plate is crushed,” Zong said.

Repeated calls and emails to Tom Cruise's and Katie Holmes' reps were not returned.

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http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2009/11/20/tom-katie-endangering-suris-growth-high-heels