Running in heels may lead to knee problems later in life: Study


High-heelsBeijing: Running in high-heeled shoes may cause knee problems later in life, according to a new study. Researchers suggest that regular use of high-heeled footwear may contribute to osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

Yaodong Gu, Yan Zhang and Wenwen Shen of the Faculty of Sports Science, at Ningbo University, in Zhejiang, China, have demonstrated that there are long-term risks for wearers of high-heels who find themselves regularly having to run.

The team measured the hip and ankle movements in young women running in different types of footwear – flat shoes heel (15 mm heel), low heel (45 mm) and high heels (70 mm).

They observed an increased motion of range of knee abduction-adduction and hip flexion-extension while the volunteers were running in high heels. This, they explain, could induce high loading forces on knee joints.

Moreover, they observed a decrease in ankle movement and inversion while running that correlated with heel height, which would be linked to a greater risk of sprain.

The researchers suggest that the higher the heel the greater the risk of an ankle sprain if running.

However, the long-term effects are more worrying. The greater movement and force focused on the knees while running in such footwear is the major risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

Although the team studied only a small group of women aged 21-25 years in laboratory conditions, it is likely that other people wearing heeled footwear would be exposed to the same risks of injury and joint wear and tear.