Wide heeled women's dress shoes cause the same if not greater damage to knees as do narrow heeled shoes, say doctors from Harvard Medical School.
The researchers measured knee joint rotation in 20 women who alternatively walked barefoot or in one of two pairs of their own shoes of comparable heel heights.
The average heel height was 7.0 cm. The narrow base shoes were an average of 1.2 cm wide while the wide base shoes averaged 4.5 cm wide.
It was found that increasing the width of a shoe's heel did nothing to improve the abnormal gait caused by wearing high heels, and that wearing wide heeled shoes had a 30 per cent greater adverse effect on knee rotation than walking barefoot.
The doctors also noted that women who opt for wide heels are putting increased pressure on the surrounding tendons and joints. Even more than thin heeled shoes, wide heels raised the risk of such degenerative changes in the knee as osteoarthritis (Lancet, 2001; 357: 1097-8).