High-heeled shoes are associated with instability and a high risk of fall, fracture, and ankle sprain. This study investigated the effects of heel base size (HBS) on walking stability under different walking speeds and slope angles. The trajectory of the center of pressure (COP), maximal peak pressure, pressure time integral, contact area, and perceived stability were analyzed. The results revealed that a small HBS increased the COP deviations, shifting the COP more medially at the beginning of the gait cycle. The slope angle mainly affected the COP in the anteroposterior direction. An increased slope angle shifted the COP posterior and caused greater pressure and a larger contact area in the midfoot and rearfoot regions, which can provide more support. Subjective measures on perceived stability were consistent with objective measures. The results suggested that high-heeled shoes with a small HBS did not provide stable plantar support, particularly on a small slope angle. The changes in the COP and pressure pattern caused by a small HBS might increase joint torque and muscle activity and induce lower limb problems.
Keywords: Center of pressure trajectory; Heel base size; High-heeled shoes; Slope angle; Walking speed.
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