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Can Walking in High Heels Give You Osteoarthritis?

Most women will wear high heels at some point in their lives; some women wear them every day! However, can wearing our favourite shoes be causing more damage than we think? High heels have been reported to cause back pain, joint pain and even sprains, but what about arthritis? We look at whether wearing those gorgeous Louboutins is doing real damage to our bodies.

What is Osteoarthritis?

A type of arthritis, osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints in your knee. According to various Arthritis groups and charities, this is caused by the surfaces within your joints becoming damaged, which then restricts the movement in your knee. The cartilage will then become thin and rough,  whilst the bone underneath thickens up. Tissues in the knee will become overactive, as the body tries to repair the damage. This condition can be extremely painful, especially as it progresses, making it almost impossible to move your knee. There are many signs and symptoms that you have osteoarthritis in the knee, including:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Crepitus, which is when the joint creaks or crunches when moved
  • Not being able to move the joint as far as normal, or lack of movement in the knee

Depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis it can cause great amounts of discomfort and distress. If you notice any unusual symptoms then it is important to see your doctor immediately, as they can run various tests to check for osteoarthritis. Luckily, there are a wide range of osteoarthritis treatment options, which can help ease the symptoms and help sufferers regain proper use of the joint.

What are the causes of osteoarthritis?

There are a wide range of factors which can lead to a patient getting osteoarthritis; normally a combination of several different of the following:

  • Genes – There are some forms of osteoarthritis that are passed down through families. If you have a family member with this condition then you are more likely to be diagnosed yourself.
  • Age and Gender – Women over the age of 45 are far more likely to get osteoarthritis, however, this isn’t an exclusive condition.
  • Obesity – Being overweight can put pressure on your joints, which can cause this condition to develop.
  • Injury or abnormalities – An injury of the joint can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis. Also, any joint abnormalities that you may have been born with can develop into arthritis.

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Can walking in high heels give you osteoarthritis?

It doesn’t seem as though walking in high heels can give you osteoarthritis, looking at the causes. However, some medical experts beg to differ! Various studies have been conducted over the last 5-10 years, looking at the impact on women who wear heels. Taking the other factors into account, there is a chance that osteoarthritis can develop from wearing high shoes; especially for women over their late 40s and those who are overweight. The evidence is so far inconclusive, but this is something that experts will be looking into until a more definitive answer is provided. If you’re worried about the impact wearing heels could be having then talk to your GP or medical professional. They will be able to run tests, such as an x-ray, to see whether wearing your favourite shoes every day is causing problems.

We should all be able to enjoy wearing the shoes we want, but we should also be aware of the possible implications. If you do wear high heels on a regular basis then make sure you give yourself some time off, at least once a week, in order to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

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