I LOVE my high heels. Strutting my stuff in a pair of my favorite killer heels makes me feel powerful and in control. And I’m sure everyone can see it. After all, perfect heels equals perfect posture.
But, what I recently learnt makes me think twice when I get ready each morning. Because those fabulous heels I so dearly love are putting me at risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So, if you’re anything like me, then you need to keep reading.
The higher your heels, the higher your risk of arthritis in your knees
Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted a study on 29 healthy young women with an average age of 26 and 20 healthy elderly women with an average age of 75. Some of the women wore flat shoes, while others wore shoes with a heel of at least 4cm. They then took a measurements of the force on each of their knees before the test as well as when the women walked in either flat or heeled shoes.
The younger women that wore heels showed a 14% increase in force across their knees. Whereas, the older women showed only 9% increase compared to the women wearing the flat shoes. It is clear that even a small heel of 4cm can cause a significant change in the force on your knees.
Are you giving your knees a beating with heels
It’s essential to consider your future health when you’re in your 20s and 30s because this is when you’re most likely to be wearing your heels all day! When you put pressure on your knees, they take more strain. This increased strain then causes inflammation – the leading cause of rheumatoid arthritis. What’s more is the fact that the higher your heels the longer you wear them, the more pressure you put on your knees and the higher your risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Professor David Felson, a rheumatologist at the University of Boston School of Medicine also says the fit of your shoe can cause arthritis in your feet. If the shoe box (that part your foot slides into) is too narrow, your toes push together thus changing the pressure on the joints across your toes.
But I have good new. You don’t have to start wearing flat shoes everyday to save your knees. You just have to be smart about the way you wear them.
Here are four tips to d keep rheumatoid arthritis at bay
1. Take off your heels when you sit down
Allow your feet to breathe and your toes to expand by kicking off your heels when you sit at your desk.
2. Don’t walk long distances in heels
If you’re going to wear heels, ensure you only walk short distances. This will ease the pressure you put on your knees.
3. Heel wisely
You don’t have to wear heels everyday. If you know you’re going to wear heels for a long time on specific days in the week, wear a pair of cute flats spare your knees on the other days.
4. Strengthen your knees with exercise
You can keep rheumatoid arthritis at bay by exercising. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles that stabilise your knees. It helps distribute the load placed on your knees across the muscle as well.