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Monday, May 2, 2016

High Heels and Arthritis

Summer is fast approaching, and women are starting to break out their strappy sandals and stilettos. Letting your toes breathe and get some fresh air after being bundled up in the cooler months is a great idea, but wearing sky-high sandals and stilettos--known for their spiky, slender heel--is another story.

Sporting stilettos or other high-heeled shoes has long brought forth the questions as to weather or not they cause arthritis--a disease of the joints causing pain, stiffness, and immobility. Medical experts agree that high heels are bad for posture and can pose a safety risk, due to tripping and falls, but do they actually contribute to arthritis?

A recent study analyzed the effects of high-heeled shoes on knees using 3-D gait analysis technology. Here are the results:
  • Stilettos (averaging 2.5 inches high) amplified the twisting force in knee joints while walking.
  • This twisting force, known as torque, places the joints at risk for the development of knee osteoarthritis, where the cartilage between bones wears away and results in painful rubbing back and forth.
  • Higher heels put great stress on the foot and ankle to maintain stability when walking, but it is ultimately the knee that suffers and is left susceptible to injury and potentially even arthritis.
The American Podiatric Medical Association claims that the best shoe for women is a simple walking shoe with laces, but if you just can't give up the high heels, here are some tips:
  • Limit how long you wear them, such as for a special event in the evening, then opt for sneakers or flats earlier in the day.
  • Try out shoes with a wider, chunkier, or platform heel for more support but still with the added height.
If you ever experience any suspicious pain or discomfort in your feet or knees, contact us for an appointment.

(Adapted from Healthgrades)

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