Nobody ever said wearing high heels was comfortable. But a new study from Stanford University found that they might make you feel like you've suddenly aged 20 years.
Researchers measured how healthy women walked while wearing shoes with different heel heights: a flat sneaker, a 1.5-inch heel, and a 3.25-inch heel. They also had each woman walk with and without a heavy vest that amounted to 20% of their body weight. Researchers paid attention to how the participants' knees moved while they walked and while they stood still.
The results of the study, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, were pretty scary for stiletto enthusiasts everywhere. When you walk in high heels, your knees are more likely to be bent when your feet hit the ground. That puts a lot of strain on your knees, and makes you walk in a similar way to older women or women who have arthritis. And it's even worse if you're overweight, since you put more pressure on your joints.
And all that strain on your knees can lead to trouble down the road. "High heel use, especially when combined with increased weight, may contribute to increased [osteoarthritis] risk in women," the study's authors wrote. So give your high heels a rest every so often; your knees will thank you later.
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