You love your high heels. You've been wearing them most of your adult life, however, recently you've started noticing pain in your knees. In addition, you may have gained weight or be carrying a heavier than average bag.

As a Seattle podiatrist, I've noticed over the years that my patients who wear high heels also complain about knee pain. A study out of Stanford published at the end of 2014, validates that observation by suggesting that high heel use in combination with additional weight may contribute to osteoarthritis of the knees.

The study observed the biomechanics of how 14 women walked when wearing flat shoes, 3.8 centimeter heels, and 8.3 centimeter heels. They also observed the same women while wearing weighted vests.

Changes in the knee mechanics due to the angle of the heels and added weight in the study were similar to those seen in aging and the progression of osteoarthritis. They found that as heel height increased more force was placed on the knee, which could lead to greater risk for knee problems.

What are the Solutions?

  • Wear shoes that have a heel that is one inch or less in height; this doesn't mean giving up fashion. There are plenty of brands out there that are both fashionable and lower in height.
  • Minimize high heel wear - avoid wearing heels every day and save them for special occasions.
  • Reduce the amount of weight you carry OR wear tennis shoes on the way to work if you have to carry a heavy briefcase or purse.

If you're having foot problems as the result of wearing high heels such as bunions and hammertoes, contact us at 206-368-7000 or by requesting an appointment online.

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