Learn more about the connection between high heels and your knees.
It's no secret that women of all ages love high heels. When are in a chic set of heels, you know nothing can bring you down, except maybe bad knees. Yes, those killer heels can lead to knee pains that can hamper your daily life.
What heels can do
High heels change the whole balance of the body, which is aligned in a specific manner. When you wear heels, the weight falls on the knees, which are the body's weight bearing joints. Between 20 and 35 years, the cartilage, which is like the sole of a shoe, undergoes wear and tear but also repairs itself. All this wear and tear is micro trauma that can decide the age at which arthritis sets in.
Repeated injuries like a twisted ankle can cause such trauma and lead to early arthritis; as early as 45 years. All women have some elements of osteoporosis after 45 years, which accentuates the wear and tear of the cartilage as well.
Some younger patients also have thyroid problems, which leads to more wear and tear of cartilage because of weaker bones. After the age of 35, knee pain can increase and if you continue wearing heels, the knee arthritis can increase.
A bone density test will help identify the quality of your bones. If the knee bone is deformed, there is no other option but a knee replacement surgery.
What you can do
Easy tips to keep your knees healthy.
Regularly exercise the muscles around the front and the back of the knee with light weight training
Avoid the treadmill when you first start exercising, as it puts pressure on the knees. Instead start with cycling on neutral or on the cross trainer. After some time, you will be ready to get on the treadmill
If you can, then swimming is the best exercise for patients with knee pain
Ensure plenty of Calcium (milk and milk products) and Vitamin D (oily fish) in your diet to strengthen your bones. You can take vitamin D tablets after consulting your physician (calcium and vit. D test should be done)
Women above 35 who identify their problem areas after a bone density test should also take plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Depending on their bone density test, treatment options are a once-a-month tablet or an injection once a year or daily injection depending on the severity of osteoporosis.
Glucosamine helps in the regeneration of the cartilage, when the pain first surfaces
Avoid squats and lunges in the gym and first start with machine exercises where you are sitting while weight training
High heels can also cause back problems, so exercise your back as well
The writer is a Mumbai-based knee replacement surgeon.