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High Heels Could Be Good For Your Knees, British Researchers Find

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London (dpa) - Dedicated followers of high-heeled fashion could be doing their knees a favour, even as they scrunch up their toes and bend their spines, according to new British research into arthritis of the knee.

The worst damage to knees is done by being overweight and doing heavy cleaning work, such as scrubbing floors, according to a study by Oxford Brookes University, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health Monday.

So many women suffer from arthritis of the knee joint that doctors speculated that wearing high heels might trigger the condition, but they found being overweight before the age of 40 was much more likely to increase the risk in older women.

About two 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.

Ray Fitzpatrick, a professor at the university, said 55.2 per cent of the women with knee arthritis had worn eight-centimetre 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.

"If anything, wearing high heels seemed to be associated with a reduced risk."

Copyright 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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