A preliminary study on the influence of high heel footwear on lumbar spine proprioception

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Biomedical Human Kinetics


Study aim: High heel footwear (HHF) alters posture and kinetics of the lower limbs and spine. Various musculoskeletal disorders in the lower quadrant can occur as a consequence of HHF use. This study aimed to investigate the effect of habitual use of HHF on lumbar spine proprioception. Material and methods: Thirty young healthy women (mean age: 21.6 ± 1.6 years; height: 157.6 ± 5.9 cm; weight: 57 ± 10.2 kg) participated in this study. Participants were randomly allocated to one of the two sequences of walking with HHF or walking barefoot for five minutes on a predetermined walkway consisting of an even surface, ramp and stairs. A 24-hour washout period was incorporated between each walking condition. Lumbar spine repositioning error was measured using a Back Range of Motion II (BROM II) device before and after walking for lumbar spine forward flexion, right, and left lateral flexion. Results: Measurements showed that repositioning error was significantly higher in all spinal movements after walking with HHF (forward flexion p = 0.0044; right lateral flexion p = 0.0243 left lateral flexion p = 0.0379) as compared to barefoot walking. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that HHF alters lumbar spine proprioception. This study provides evidence to support early assessment of proprioception and incorporation of retraining exercises in habitual users of HHF.

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