Osteoarthritis, the joint disease that develops on average between the ages of 45 and 90 years old, affects more than 1.6 million Australians and is a major cause of disability and poor quality of life. For years we’ve known that it affects more women than men and researches from Stanford University may have found why.
They discovered that walking in three inch heels changes the gait of a women – similar to that seen in ageing and arthritic knees. This finding could be an explanation to why women have such higher instances of osteoarthritis to men. According to the research paper, “Because women and men are observed to have similar knee biomechanics during barefoot walking, gender differences in footwear, specifically high-heeled shoes, have been implicated as a possible factor for the higher incidence of osteoarthritis in women.”
The researchers studied the gait of 14 women as they walked in different types of shoes, from flat trainers to heels that left the women teetering just over three inches off the ground. They found that the higher the heels were, the more their gait, including the movement of their knees, changed. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include, stiff, swollen and painful joints. This makes every day tasks like walking, difficult.
Writing in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, the scientists said being overweight may make things even worse. They added, “Many of the changes observed with increasing heel height and weight were similar to those seen with ageing and osteoarthritis progression. This suggests that high heel use, especially in combination with additional weight, may contribute to increased osteoarthritis risk in women.”
So today tell us, is this a contributing factor for you? Did you wear high heels throughout your life or perhaps still now? Share your thoughts in the comments below…