Published by
Stanford Medicine

Orthopedics, Research, Women's Health

Study links high heels to osteoarthritis and joint problems

Poor Carrie Bradshaw! It turns out everyone’s favorite fictional writer and shoe aficionado could be facing some health issues in the future: According to results of a small study out of Iowa State University, wearing prolonged high-heel wearing may lead to joint and knee problems. From the release:

[Researcher Danielle] Barkema selected three different heel heights – flat, two inches, and 3.5 inches – and had each of the 15 women in her study complete walking trials. She measured the forces acting about the knee joint and the heelstrike-induced shock wave that travels up the body when walking in heels. Using sensors, accelerometers and lab equipment such as a force platform and markers/cameras, she was able to capture motion and force data and translate them into results that could change the way millions of women select their footwear.

While previous studies have examined the effect of high heels on joints, the ISU researchers found that heel height changes walking characteristics such as slower speeds and shorter stride lengths. And as the heels got higher, they also saw an increase in the compression on the inside – or medial side – of the knee.

“This means that prolonged wearing and walking in heels could, over time, contribute to joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis,” Barkema said.

The findings haven’t been published yet but will be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics.

Previously: Ouch! How high heels can shrink leg muscle, cause pain
Photo by the_moog

One Response to “ Study links high heels to osteoarthritis and joint problems ”

  1. Orthopedic Doctor Says:

    Well high heels have always been incriminated with improper gait and ankle arthritis.
    Yet I had no idea it could impact to higher joints like the knee.
    Apart from the chronic degenerative changes, high heels are also likely to cause acute twisting injuries, which may be another reason for statistical increase in arthritis.
    Dr. Gauresh.

Comment


Please read our comments policy before posting

Stanford Medicine Resources: