High Heel Shoes

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal examines the musculoskeletal effects of high-heeled shoes from a population-based perspective. The main conclusions drawn include:

1. Most studies in the medical literature focus on the biomechanics of wearing high-heeled shoes, and not on the relationship of wearing these shoes to foot injuries and other musculoskeletal issues (developing arthritis, bunions, etc…)

2. There is strong evidence that high-heeled shoes are associated with injuries

3. There is an association between wearing high-heeled shoes and bunion formation

4. Surprisingly, there is no evidence to suggest association of high heels to developing arthritis. In contrast, there is strong biomechanical evidence that high heels cause abnormal knee biomechanics, leading to hyperextension (called genu recurvatum), and increased patellofemoral joint pressure, both of which could theoretically lead to arthritis.

Lonny Nodelman, DPM