Prevent Osteoarthritis: Give Heels the Boot | Reader's Digest

Prevent Osteoarthritis: Give Heels the Boot

High heels are sexy and slimming, but they're also suspected as the reason why twice as many women develop osteoarthritis than men. Are flats a safer bet?

from Long Life Prescription

Kicking Off High HeelsHemera/Thinkstock

Want to avoid the pain of arthritis?
Experts say, “Give up the high-heeled shoes.”

Here’s why:
Harvard University researchers wondered if the fact that women are twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis might have something to do with the high-heeled shoes they wear. They studied 20 healthy women as they walked in their own high-heeled shoes and barefoot.

Researchers found that walking in high heels increases pressure across a major joint in the knee called the patellofemoral joint and puts 23 percent more force on the inner part of the knee, both of which could lead to joint damage and osteoarthritis.

The bottom line:
We know you can’t trek to work barefoot, but you can choose flats over heels. And don’t think that just because your spikes aren’t 4-inches high that you’re off the hook; even shoes with just 1.5-inch heels can lead to twisting of the knee.

Osteoarthritis can affect any of the body’s joints, but it most often occurs in the hands, knees, hips, or spine. To learn how each joint is affected, check out Osteoarthritis: Joint by Joint.

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