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Effect of Asymmetrical Load Carrying on Joint Kinetics of the Lower Extremity During Walking in High-Heeled Shoes in Young Women

Soul Lee School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

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Lin Wang School of Kinesiology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China.

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Jing Xian Li School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

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Background: Carrying a load asymmetrically and walking in high-heeled shoes are common in women. Knowledge of the effects of the two combined conditions on lower-limb kinetics is lacking. We sought to examine the effects of walking in high-heeled shoes and carrying an asymmetrical load on the joint kinetics of the lower extremity in young women.

Methods: Fifteen participants were asked to walk in flat-heeled and 9-cm high-heeled shoes and to asymmetrically carry loads of 0% body weight (BW), 5% BW, and 10% BW. The three-dimensional joint moments of the hip, knee, and ankle in each of the walking conditions were studied through ground reaction force measurements and motion analysis.

Results: Walking in high-heeled shoes and asymmetrically carrying a load of 5% or 10% BW resulted in significant differences in ankle joint moments of the loaded and unloaded lower limbs. Compared with walking in flat-heeled shoes, walking in high-heeled shoes and carrying a load asymmetrically significantly increased hip extension, hip abduction, knee extension, and knee adduction moments and decreased ankle plantar moment of the loaded leg. Walking in high-heeled shoes carrying a load of 10% BW resulted in greater significant changes in hip abduction, knee extension, and ankle dorsiflexion moments in the loaded leg than did carrying a load of 5% BW.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that walking in high-heeled shoes and asymmetrical load carrying create significant differences in joint loading between the two limbs and alter lower-extremity kinetics.

Corresponding author: Jing Xian Li, PhD, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, 125 University, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada. (E-mail: jli@uottawa.ca)