Pain before beauty! This is a typical phrase we hear from our girlfriends, a sister, female colleagues, wives, mothers and other women who are willing to sacrifice pain for beauty. However, what price do women have to pay for wearing these extremely painful, yet fashionable, shoes? I’m sure women are aware that wearing some types of shoes are horrible for your feet. After all, some shoes can cause extreme pain within hours. But what are heels and flats doing to our joints? What’s happening to our knees and ankles? If I keep wearing heels will I experience knee pain?
According to livestrong.com,
“Your knee is not only the largest joint in your body, it’s also the most easily injured. This is partly because of the joint’s intricate design. Two major bones — your thigh and shin bones — converge at your kneecap, or patella, and are held in place and controlled by ligaments and shock-absorbing cartilage. Each joint component relies on the others to function properly and without pain.”
High Heels and Joint Pain
They’re fashionable, they’re popular, they give you a lift, everyone is wearing them and they’re dangerous to your joints. High heels are especially bad for your ankles and especially to your knees. If you love wearing high heels then you are becoming more prone to knee pain and possible injury.
According to Rush University Medical Center,
“When high heels lift your heel up, your weight bearing line tips forward so your quadriceps have to work harder to hold your knee straight, which then leads to knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “Whereas, if your heel is closer to the floor in low pumps or flats, your thigh muscles don’t have to work as hard to maintain stability, which is easier on the knees.”
When you wear high heels it’s not just causing temporary pain in your feet. You’re also putting yourself at risk for developing premature arthritis. According to a recent study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, wearing heels that are over 3.5” can lead to prematurely aged knee joints and possibly developing osteoarthritis. Would you rather feel fashionable and taller or possibly develop osteoarthritis and knee pain?
Flip-Flops and Joint Pain
I have to admit; during the summer months I love walking around in a pair of flip-flops. They’re simple, trendy, mildly comfortable and they keep your feet cool. If you love the beach I’m sure you own a few pair of flip-flops. After all, if you’re not barefoot or wearing flip-flops, what are you wearing on the beach? According to the video clip by Everyday Health, flip-flops are the most dangerous footwear you can buy.
Why are flip-flops so dangerous? Didn’t we just determine that wearing high heels were dangerous? Aren’t flip-flops the opposite of high heels? Yes, but flip-flops come with a completely different set of dangers. According to the video flip-flops offer no support whatsoever! Wearing shoes that offer no support means that you are pulling ligaments in your feet all day long. Apparently when you pull on your ligaments all day long you begin to develop arch pain and heel pain, which can develop into plantar fasciitis. Besides plantar fasciitis, you can develop bone spurs in the heel and you are at a much greater chance of rolling your ankles because you are weakening the ankle joint.
Besides this long list of painful conditions have you ever heard of the flip-flop-shuffle? The flip-flop-shuffle is a name for the way we walk when we wear flip-flops. If you wear the typical thong type of flip-flop you have to crunch your toes to hold your flip-flop on your foot. This causes you to take shorter strides, which can cause everything from permanent hammertoes, back pain and hip joint pain. I think it’s safe to say that flip-flops are entirely bad for you.
Shoes to Prevent Joint Pain
If you’re convinced that wearing the wrong footwear has caused you chromic pain and you’re looking to purchase safer shoes, here’s what you can do today. Try to purchase the ideal shoe that has a thick low heel. Ideally the height of your shoe should put you into a comfortable position because it will feel like the angle is natural. Try to make sure the shoes have a rubber sole or a sole that acts like a shock absorber. The ideal shoe will have a wide toe-box so that you have the proper room to move around.
If this doesn’t sound like the shoe for you perhaps you can purchase a pair of stability shoes. According to healthline.com
“Stability shoes have a cushioned midsole and heel to prevent the foot from rolling inward. They also act as a shock absorber. Stability shoes may not be the best option for people with osteoarthritis of the knee because they can increase the load on the knee. But they may be good for people with arthritis of the hip, foot, or ankle, especially people who tend to roll their foot inward when they walk.”
- Can Shoes Cause Knee Pain? (May 12, 2015). Jessica McCahon Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/223641-can-shoes-cause-knee-pain/
- 5 TIPS FOR PREVENTING KNEE PAIN (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/preventing-knee-pain
- A Step in the Right Direction: Best Shoes for Arthritis (October 8, 2013) Stephanie Watson, Medically Reviewed on October 8, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-shoes-arthritis#7