A new study has revealed the negatives of prolonged use of high heals which can cause joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis.
An Iowa State University kinesiology master's student Danielle Barkema, recently completed her thesis research studying the effects of high-heeled walking on forces acting on lower extremity joints.
Kinesiology professor and department chair Phil Martin assisted her in the study. arkema selected three different heel heights-flat, two inches, and 3.5 inches-and had each of the 15 women in her study complete walking trials.
The ISU researchers found that heel height changes walking characteristics such as slower speeds and shorter stride lengths. And as the heels got higher, they also saw an increase in the compression on the inside-or medial side-of the knee.
"This means that prolonged wearing and walking in heels could, over time, contribute to joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis," Barkema said.
"I think Danielle's exactly right. Wearing high heels regularly puts a person at risk and the higher the heel, the greater the risk," Martin added.
"The loading that's being produced in the joint with every step that they take is higher-or at least, these data suggest that. These are not direct measures of loading within the joint, but they're an alternative way of looking at that kind of loading."
The Study will be presented, in part, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB), Aug. 18-21, at Brown University in Providence, R.I.