Raising heel height alters pressure distribution in experienced high-heel wearers

Adam Hawkey, Isabel Gardiner

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    High heels are worn by millions of women every day in both professional and social settings. Despite high heels being used prolifically, research examining the effects of different heel heights on gait patterns is limited. The current study investigated how changes in heel-height alter pressure distribution. Following institutional ethics approval, 16 high-heel wearing females(Age mean ± SD: 26 ± 10yrs; Mass mean ± SD: 62.6 ± 18kg; Shoe size mean ± SD: 5.3 ± 1 UK; foot width mean ± SD: 9 ± 0.5cm; foot length mean ± SD: 25 ± 1.4cm) completed three walking trials in each of four separate conditions; barefoot over a pressure plate and in three conditions wearing shoes with different heel heights (1.5cm, 5.3cm and 9cm respectively), that had a pressure-measuring insole inserted into the shoes. The anatomical points of interest for measuring pressure were the five metatarsal heads and both the lateral and medial aspects of the heel of the left foot. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that an increase in heel-height resulted in significant increases in pressure at the heads of metatarsal 2 (P = 0.006) and metatarsal 3 (P < 0.01) and decreases in pressure at the head of metatarsal 5 (P = 0.002) and the lateral heel (P = 0.025). The results of this study suggest that it would be advised to keep heel heights to a minimum in order to reduce any possible discomfort and mitigate the potential for other detrimental effects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-10
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Sports Therapy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2015


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