Health Blog with a stethoscope sitting on top of a laptop.

Welcome to Our Blog.

At McLeod Health, we are dedicated to providing useful health and medical information to our community. Take a look at our blog categories and choose those that interest you. Be sure to subscribe to each category of interest and we will send you new blog articles as they are posted.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Posted on in Orthopedics

Are High Heels Walking You Toward Total Joint Replacement?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Eric Heimberger McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast

All eyes turned as Donna walked in. Her face was beautiful.  The silhouette, striking. And those high spike heels!  Whew!  Every man – and a few women – inhaled sharply, losing interest in their year-old magazines.  Donna smiled sweetly, knowing that she was causing a ruckus – and thinking to herself, If only my knees didn’t hurt so much.  Well, maybe when the nurse calls my name, the orthopedic specialist can tell me what the problem is“A number of studies have shown the increased risk from high heels of developing osteoarthritis in your knees,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Eric Heimberger. “The knee joint deteriorates, possibly leading to total joint replacement.”

HIGH HEELS – MORE THAN YOUR TOES CAN HURT

When high heels hit the ground, they send a shock wave up through the leg to the knee and up to the hip.  The higher the heel, the greater the shock and compression on the knee. High heels put as much as 26% more strain on the knee than a flat shoe. This is one reason that osteoarthritis of the knee (a primary cause of total joint replacement) is twice as common among women as in men.

CLOGS, ALSO HURTFUL

Many people have taken to wearing clogs, possibly thinking this footwear is more healthful because it’s all rubber or less restrictive than high heels. Not so.

Studies show that clogs also increase the loading on knee joints – up to 15% more – compared with shoes that have flatter heels and more flexibility.

FLIP-FLOPS?

This popular footwear actually may offer some benefit to people already suffering from knee osteoarthritis.  Walking barefoot offers the least stress. Flip-flops seem to be the next best thing to walking barefoot and equal to wearing a flat, flexible walking shoe.

Be aware that especially among older folks, the flip-flop presents a tripping hazard.  

FOOT GLOVES

Those shoes, have the toe-like glove fingers, are preferred by some runners.  Be careful – especially if you already are suffering from osteoarthritis. Foot gloves don’t offer as much shock-absorbing material as a regular shoe when the foot hits hard pavement.

FINAL THOUGHT

Obviously, women won’t completely stop wearing high heels. For some women, the heels are part of their professional wardrobe. So, at least consider wearing heels no higher than 2 inches. Or alternate heels with flats during the workweek. And think about some strength training for your lower body.  

Are your shoes creating muscle strain or pain in your knees and hips?  See an orthopedic specialist for a diagnosis and treatment options.

Find an Orthopedic Specialist near you.  

Sources include:  McLeod Health, National Institutes of Health, American Society of Biomechanics, Arthritis Foundation, OnHealth, Arthritis Care & Research, The Lancet

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
To report technical issues, please contact us. Public Access to Information or To Report a Concern.

©2012 McLeod Health. Download Vendor Code of Conduct | HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices | Patient Bill of Rights
Report a Concern | Visitation | Download McLeod Health Mission & Values