Sports and Fitness
RESEARCH UPDATE ON KNEE PAIN
By Hope Gillerman,
certified teacher of the Alexander Technique
Did you know that high heels can cause arthritis in your knees?
New York Times health writer Jane Brody reports women are twice as likely as men to suffer from osteoarthritis in the knee joint. To find out why, specialists from Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital recently conducted a study. As they watched women walk in high heels, they observed that such shoes cause a disproportionate amount of stress on the knee and hip joint. Here's why: when you walk in heels, your ankle joint doesn't move as freely. To stabilize, you compensate by twisting at the knee. This puts strain on the inner knee-the area most susceptible to arthritis degeneration. Over time, this repeated torque leads to pain.
- If you like wearing heels, don't wear them exclusively. Vary the shoes you wear so that the height of your heel changes, and be sure to wear low heels some of the time.
- After a day in heels, stretch out calves, hamstrings and hips (take Stretching With Body Intelligence workshop for guidance).
- For tearing around NYC streets, wear flexible, flat shoes with arch support and cushioned soles.
- For walking in lace up boots, tie them loosely at the ankle for easy mobility.
- Avoid shoes with wedge-shaped soles-they throw your balance forward over your toes and strain your lower back.
- If you are an actor performing in high heels or on a raked stage, take some Alexander lessons to learn how to maximize mobility in your hip, knee and ankle. Learning how to walk more comfortably in heels adds elegance and fluidity to your step.