The influence of heel height on lower extremity kinematics and leg muscle activity during gait in young and middle-aged women

Gait Posture. 2012 Apr;35(4):677-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.12.001. Epub 2012 Jan 31.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in electromyographic (EMG) activity of the lower limb muscles, and hip, knee and ankle kinematics during gait while wearing low- (4-cm) and high-heeled (10-cm) shoes in 31 young and 15 middle-aged adult women. We observed an increase in knee flexion and decrease in ankle eversion associated with elevated heel heights suggesting that compensatory mechanisms attenuating ground reaction forces may be compromised during gait with higher-heeled shoes. Additionally, we observed increased muscle activity during high-heeled gait that may exacerbate muscle fatigue. Collectively, these findings suggest that permanent wearing of heeled footwear could contribute to muscle overuse and repetitive strain injuries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Height*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoes*
  • Young Adult