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Institute for Aging Research study links high-heels to heel and ankle pain
Date:9/28/2009

(Boston, Mass)Women should think twice before buying their next pair of high-heels or pumps, according to researchers at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in a new study of older adults and foot problems.

The researchers found that the types of shoes women wear, specifically high-heels, pumps and sandals, may cause future hind-foot (heel and ankle) pain. Nearly 64 percent of women who reported hind-foot pain regularly wore these types of shoes at some point in their life.

"We found an increased risk of hind-foot pain among women who wore shoes, such as high-heels or pumps, that lack support and sound structure," says lead author Alyssa B. Dufour, a graduate student in the Institute's Musculoskeletal Research Program.

Published in the October issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research, the study is one of the first to examine the association between shoe wearbeyond just high-heel useand foot pain. The researchers, who analyzed foot-examination data from more than 3,300 men and women in The Framingham Study, say past shoe wear among women is a key factor for hind-foot pain. They found no significant link between foot pain and the types of shoes men wear.

While foot pain is a common complaint in the U.S. adult populationfoot and toe symptoms are among the top 20 reasons for physician visits among those 65 to 74 years of agerelatively little is known about the causes of foot pain in older adults. Women are more likely than men to have foot pain; however, it is not known if this is due to a higher prevalence of foot deformities, underlying disease, shoe wear, or other lifestyle choices.

From a list of 11 shoe types, study participants were asked about the one style of shoe they currently wear on a regular basis, what they regularly wore during five age periods in the past, and if they experience pain, aching or stiffness in either foot on most days. Nearly 30 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported ge
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Contact: Scott Edwards
Edwards@hrca.harvard.edu
781-247-8172
Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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