Kerrigan, D. Casey and Johansson, Jennifer L. and Bryant, Mary G. and Boxer, Jennifer A. and Della Croce, Ugo and Riley, Patrick O. (2005) Moderate-heeled shoes and knee joint torques relevant to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 86 (5), p. 871-875. eISSN 1532-821X. Article.
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Objective: To determine if women’s dress shoes with heels of just 1.5in (3.8cm) in height increases knee joint torques, which are thought to be relevant to the development and/or progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in both the medial and patellofemoral compartments.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: A 3-dimensional motion analysis gait laboratory.
Participants: Twenty-nine healthy young women (age,
26.75.0y) and 20 healthy elderly adult women (age,
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measures: Peak external varus knee torque in early and late stance and prolongation of flexor knee torque in early stance. Three-dimensional data on lower-extremity torques and motion were collected during walking while (1) wearing shoes with 1.5-in high heels and (2) wearing control shoes without any additional heel. Data were plotted and qualitatively compared; major peak values and timing were statistically compared between the 2 conditions using paired t tests.
Results: Peak knee varus torque during late stance was statistically significantly greater with the heeled shoes than with the controls, with increases of 14% in the young women and 9% in the elderly women. With the heeled shoes, the early stance phase knee flexor torque was significantly prolonged, by 19% in the young women and by 14% in elderly women. Also, the peak flexor torque was 7% higher with the heeled shoe in the elderly women.
Conclusions: Even shoes with moderately high heels (1.5in) significantly increase knee torques thought to be relevant in the development and/or progression of knee OA. Women, particularly those who already have knee OA, should be advised against wearing these types of shoes.
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