Bio-medical Engineering Research prove that running for a bus while wearing high heels could damage a woman’s knees for LIFE – Daily Mail

  • Even short bursts of activity in stiletto shoes can lead to osteoarthritis
  • And the higher the heels, the greater the risk of ankle strain
  • 90% of women who regularly wear high heels report soreness, fatigue, numbness and bunions

Running for a bus, darting across a busy street or dashing to get the last train, most busy women find themselves in need of a little turn of speed every now and then.

But according to a study, even short bursts of activity could make women wearing high heels prone to arthritis – causing misery for millions in later life.

Researchers claim high heel wearers who find themselves regularly having to run are putting themselves ‘at risk of long-term damage’.

Not so fast: Even short bursts of activity in stiletto shoes can lead to knee problems in the future, a study has found

Nine out of 10 women who regularly wear high heels report soreness, fatigue, numbness and bunions.

Despite this, wearing high-heels continues to be a fashion statement, said the researchers from Ningbo University, in Zhejiang, China.

They measured hip and ankle movements in young women wearing different types of footwear – flat shoes with a half-inch (1.5cm) heel, shoes with low heels of 1.75 inches (4.5cm) and high heels of 2.75 inches (7cm).

The team discovered that women running in high heels suffered a range of knee and hip strains which could lead to long-term damage.

Moreover, they observed a potentially damaging decrease in ankle movement 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.


There are long-term ramifications, too: Regular use of high-heeled footwear may contribute to osteoarthritis of the knee joints, they say.

The greater movement and force focused on the knees while running in such footwear is a major risk factor.

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.

Heels give the wearer a shorter stride, a purportedly more graceful gait and a superficial ‘shaping’ of the leg towards the slender.

The study leaders said it was perhaps no surprise that, given the perception of increased attractiveness and self-confidence, women continue to wear heels despite the pain.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

Previous research has found that women who swap their heels for flats at the end of the day may also do more harm than good.

This is because, over time, walking in heels causes calf muscles to become shorter and weaker.

When the wearer switches to flats, the muscles are suddenly stretched into a position they are not used to, causing pain and discomfort.

Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University found that women who wear heels five days a week over two years can shrink their calf muscles by up to 13 per cent.
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