Running in High Heels

If you regularly sport high heels, you already know that the pinching, clumsy shoes put style above comfort. But if you wear sky-high stilettos while chasing down a cab, you could also be putting your joints at risk.

Researchers at Ningbo University in China say running in high heels can lead to knee osteoarthritis and a higher risk of ankle sprains. Their research, published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, serves as a warning for heel devotees.

In the study, 10 women ages 21 to 25 jogged in a series of experiments while wearing three kinds of shoes: flats, low-heeled shoes, and high-heeled shoes.

According to their report, the researchers observed an increased outward range of motion in the knees and hips with elevated heel heights. This is problematic, as this movement can place high loading force on the knee joints and be a precursor to knee osteoarthritis.

The researchers also observed a decrease in ankle movement, which could lead to ankle sprains, during the high heel jogging tests.

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The study sample of 10 young women is relatively small, but they hope to expand their research with a larger and more diverse participant group.

Addicted to Heels?

High heels may also cause other foot injuries. The narrow and shallow toe box crushes the forefoot, cut-away uppers reduce mid-foot support, and weak or absent fastenings can allow the foot to shift inside the shoe.

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If you can’t bear to do away with your towering heels, at least equip your shoes with comfortable, padded support. Or, steal a secret from the ballroom stars and wear professional-looking dance shoes.

The easiest solution? Resist the urge to stand tall and stick to low heels and flats, especially when commuting. Your whole body will thank you.