Women who frequently wear high heeled shoes may end up with osteoarthritis. The shoes shift the weight of the body and put added pressure on the knee joints, researchers have found.
Although they were unable to prove that there is a connection, the researchers say that wearing high heels may lead to degenerative changes in the knee joint which could, in turn, result in osteoarthritis.
The condition is twice as common in women as men, and it tends to occur in both joints. But nobody had scientifically assessed the effects of high heels on the knee and hip joints, to see if they were a possible cause, point out researchers from Harvard Medical School.
They examined 20 healthy women who felt comfortable wearing shoes with narrow heels at least five centimetres high. The researchers found that high heeled shoes significantly alter the normal function of the ankle, so putting greater pressure on the hip and the knee just to maintain stability and to be able to walk. Most of the compensation is taken up by the knee joint, which had to cope with an additional 23 per cent torque (Lancet, 1998; 351: 1399-1401).