Background

Wearing high-heeled shoes and carrying asymmetrical loads are common in ladies. However, knowledge of the effects of wearing high-heeled shoes on balance and lower-extremity biomechanics in experienced and novice high-heeled shoe wearers is lacking. The study aims to examine the effects of high-heeled shoes and asymmetrical load carrying on joint kinematics and kinetics of the lower extremity during walking as well as balance in experienced and novice high-heeled shoe wearers.

Methods

Fifteen experienced and 15 novice high-heeled shoes wearers participated in this study. Using a motion analysis system, kinematic and kinetic data were collected while participants walked at their preferred speed in six conditions created from two types of shoes (9-cm high-heeled shoes and flat-heeled shoes) and three weights of symmetrical load (0%, 5%, and 10% of body weight). Stride time and length, step length, double support time, peak joint angles, and joint moments in a sagittal plane were analyzed. Single-leg and tandem-leg stance tests were performed in each condition.

Results

Compared with experienced high-heeled shoe wearers, novice high-heeled shoe wearers had longer double support time and shorter stride length during 10% of body weight asymmetrical load walking; walked with greater knee flexion angle, smaller knee range of motion, and smaller ankle dorsiflexor moment; and scored lower in the single-leg and tandem-leg stance tests.

Conclusions

Novice high-heeled shoe wearers need to alter their lower-limb joint angles and moments to adjust to high-heeled shoes to achieve balance during gait while carrying an asymmetrical load.

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