The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Housework, not heels, lead to bad knees

London, Sept. 29: Women who smoke, are overweight and do a lot of heavy housework such as scrubbing floors are at greater risk of developing painful knees later in life, say researchers.

But fashion victims who wear toe-crunching, spine-bending stiletto shoes can at least be reassured that their high heels will not lead to knee joint problems — and might even prevent them.

So many women suffer from arthritis of the knee joint that doctors speculated that wearing high heels might trigger the condition.

Instead they found that being overweight before the age of 40 was much more likely to increase the risk in older women. In addition, most of the women in the survey had done demanding physical work, including housework on their knees.

About 2 per cent of over-55s suffer from knee osteoarthritis and the condition is twice as common in women as it is in men. In the survey of 111 women aged 50 to 70, 29 had varying degrees of knee pain.

Prof. Ray Fitzpatrick, of Oxford Brookes University, says in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that 55.2 per cent of the women with knee arthritis had worn 3-inch heels regularly compared with 67.1 per cent of the healthy women.

“Several factors were significantly associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, including previous knee injury, heavy smoking and being overweight. But wearing high heels was not one of them,” he said.

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