High Heels Cause More Than Foot Pain

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

June 29, 2007

The idea that high heels are hazardous to your health is not a new one, but along with corns and calluses ladies, the shoes you choose could be causing a lot more damage.

"No, I'm sorry I won't give an inch on that literally,” said UVa Researcher Dr. Casey Kerrigan.

We women love our high heels, but with every inch, Dr. Kerrigan says we aren't just hurting our feet, we're also hurting our knees.

“We believe foot wear plays a large role in the development of arthritis at the knee,” said Dr. Kerrigan.

She's linked not only high heels but wide heels, moderate heels and even some running shoes to the cause of a painful degenerative joint disease called knee osteoarthritis.

“This shoe (holding a running shoe) any woman would say is absolutely sensible. This would be a safe shoe to wear, but in fact, this bit of a heel increases the forces by 19 percent. So even these shoes are not good,” said Dr. Kerrigan.

Kerrigan uses a gate lab, a computer and cameras to see how different shoes increase the ground reaction forces in knees. She said women who wear high heels may not feel the pain now but that doesn't mean you're not hurting your knees. Arthritis in the joints may develop after decades of wearing heels.

Kerrigan said the best shoes to wear are flats and flip flops. She is also working on developing the perfect shoe. You should be able to get your hands on a pair some time next year.

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