Smita Rao and Physical Therapy Students Deconstruct High Heel Shoe Pain

In the paper, “Pretty pathways to pain: muscle activation in high-heeled shoes,” Assistant Professor Smita Rao and students in the Department of Physical Therapy looked at muscle activity and joint loads in women wearing high heeled shoes.

According to the researchers, foot pain affects 15-37% of all people, and is particularly prevalent in women and older people.

“We found that wearing high heels preferentially increases the workload of certain muscles, and that some individuals seem to adapt to high heels more effectively than others,” Rao says. The study, funded by the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation, appears online in the Lower Extremity Review. Rao, a physical therapist, studies how and why movement can lead to foot pain.

(Photo:  Smita Rao by Brady Galan.)



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