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High Heels can lead to Knee Osteoarthritis

Posted by Dr Devayani Thakre, MPTh, Physiotherapist, Platina Hospital, on 01 June 2015

Surely we love our  4 inch stilettos,kiiten heels and wedges but can those leg-fattering heels predispose us to osteoarthritis of knee?

Unfortunately , Yes..

If you are badly addicted to your high heels then  think twice.This fashion comes with a price greater than the tag!

Women’s shoes “have a substantial impact on the load on knee joints, particularly when we walk," says Najia Shakoor, M.D., a rheumatologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

I usually come across young ladies complaining of knee pain and the symptoms similar to osteoarthritis. Arthritic knees are found to be more common in elderly age group but as the Society of Chiropodists UK says "arthritis can occur at any age not just when we get older". Findings of early degenarative changes in your late 20's or early 30's is definitly something serious. Most of the emphasis is always given on obesity and knee osteoarthrits as it is the leading cause but your pair of shoes can even buy you an arthritic knee.

About 45% of female use high heels on regular basis.Researchers at the University of Virginia found back in 1998 that
Extended use of  these high heels is the common cause of knee pain and early degenarative changes.

 Your heels are forced to an unnatural angle, and your body compansates a lot to maintain your balance.

A considerable amount of the compansation work is handed over to the knee joints making them tensed and work harder to keep you upright. The pressure on the shock absorbing cartilage under your knee cap is increased by 25%.

Studies have shown that high heels put increased compressive forces on the medial miniscus and the medial compartment of knee causing degenarative changes with time.




High heel solution

Use high heels only when attending events you dont have to walk much or stand for longer durations.

Try to set your limit below two inches. 1.5" heel is found to be the average heel height for overall pedal health.

Opt for shoes with leather insoles keep foot from sweating.

Give your foot some heel time i.e walk bare foot for sometime everyday.

Stretch your calf before and after putting your heels.

Buy a wide variety shoes and vary your footware day to day.


So Ladies, Its actually not that difficult to sacrifice your favorite pair of stilettos to save your beloved knees.

Fashion or comfort - Choice is yours.

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