What's the Real Damage of High Heels?

by Eliza Florendo

I'm a shoe lover. It even says so in my bio. Being a short, petite woman (I won't mention specifics of my height here) heels are a must. And I'm not exaggerating. While I've come to love and accept my height, there are still places and circumstances I avoid. Like general admission anything. Mostly concerts. Trust me, nothing is worse than being tipsy and separated from your group of friends. Alas, heels, high ones at that, have become my best friend.

But, recently, scientists at Stanford University have discovered that wearing high heels puts major strain on your joints, and may lead to osteoarthritis. This is a stab through the heart. Er, I mean, feet. In the study, researchers had 14 healthy women walk at a normal pace. Some wore flat shoes, some wore 1.5 inch heels, and some wore 3.5 inch heels. What they found was that women in higher heels had increased strain in the knee joints. Not surprising.

They also found that women wearing 3.5 inch heels or higher had knees that looked similar to that of damaged or aged joints.

So what is osteoarthritis exactly? According to the Telegraph, the purpose of cartilage is to absorb the impact from walking, running, or any movement to prevent your bones from disintegrating. But when you've got osteoarthritis, the cartilage begins to fail, and your bones will start to rub together and cause swelling and pain.

And—to make matters worse, there is no cure. Just anti-inflammatory pain killers. We all knew heels weren't great for our feet and backs, but possibly causing a serious, irreversible disorder? Not cool. I'll still be teetering in my highest heels, but maybe carry a pair of flats for the walk. Don't be spooked, high heels are still our friends. Just maybe not our best friends. Remember, everything in moderation.