I must confess that wearing a pair of high heels is nothing short of pure torture for me.
Talk about suffering for beauty!
Well, thanks to some researchers at Iowa State University, I have a legitimate excuse to never don another pair of those pointy-heeled torture devices again.
A study presented at a meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, found that women aren’t just sacrificing comfort when they slide on a pair of high heels. They’re also sacrificing their health, causing long-term and possibly even permanent damage to their bodies.
Judging by how I feel after just a few hours in heels, I probably could have told the researchers that without having to resort to an experiment.
High heels linked to arthritis and knee replacements
Leader of the research team… and my new best friend… biomechanist Danielle Barkema said that while everyone should already know that wearing high heels is bad for you, what you may not realize is that the higher the heel the greater a woman’s risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee.
In fact, according to Barkema, consistently wearing high heels can even lead you to the point that there’s bone-on-bone contact and knee replacements are needed.
The researchers compared the forces and shock waves affecting the legs of women, ages 18 to 40, who were wearing flats, 2-inch heels, or 3.5-inch heels.
Not surprisingly, it was found that wearing heels changes a woman’s posture. But more specifically, the researchers found that the heels caused women’s ankles to tilt inwards and destabilized their ankle joints.
At the same time, there was significantly more loading on the inner knee—which got worse with the higher heel.
Regular high heel wearers harm tendons and feet
Previous research showed that high heels add a greater compression to the inside of the knee and that women who regularly wear heels have significantly shorter and stiffer Achilles tendons and less flexibility in their feet.
Another study, one I told you about in “Knocking Out Knee Pain,” found that shoes that mimic the natural flexing of the bare foot when you’re walking, are much more forgiving to your knee joints.
In other words, ditch the high heels. They’re just plain bad for you. (Sorry, guys.)
Marilyn Monroe has been quoted as having once said, “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”
I say what we owe him, Marilyn, is a real stern talking-to.
As for me, I’ll be sticking to flats.