Many women would probably agree that walking around all day in a pair of stilettos causes’ foot pain and a general feeling of fatigue. However, a recent study at Stanford University found that wearing high heels of three and a half inches or more can lead to serious damage to the knee joints which over time could lead to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones in your joints breaks down or wears away. Cartilage acts to prevent bones from rubbing against each other during movement and reduces friction in the joints. Osteoarthritis gradually develops over time and some common symptoms include pain or tenderness in the joints, stiffness with a loss of flexibility, and a grinding sensation in the joints. In the study at Stanford University, researchers had 14 healthy women walk in shoes with varying heel thickness (flat shoes, one and a half inch thick heels and three and a half inch heels). As the participants walked, researchers scanned their knees and examined the angle of their knees with each step as their feet struck the ground.
The results of the study showed that as the heel thickness increased, the more likely it was that the knee was going to be bent as the participant’s feet struck the ground. This is problematic because the more bent a person’s knee is as their feet strike the ground, the more strain they are putting on the knee joint and the more damage they are doing to the joint itself. Researches stated that wearing three and a half inch heels made the participants knees look more like aged or damaged joints and the effects were more pronounced in overweight individuals. It has long been suspected that wearing high heels can lead to premature aging of the joints and now there is evidence to prove it.
Wearing high heels once in a while for special occasions may be okay but wearing them daily will put tremendous strain on the joints. When it come to general foot and joint health it is always better for your body to put comfort first over fashion. If you would like to discuss your footwear with a podiatrist or would like more information about osteoarthritis, please make an appointment with one of our podiatrists at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Center located in Howell NJ.