According to a recent paper published in the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation it is easier on the knees and ankles to walk in high heels than jog in running shoes. An injury, function and rehabilitation study was conducted on 68 (31 male: 37 female) young adult runners (All of the runners regularly ran at least 15 miles a week and had no previous history of musculoskeletal injury). Each runner was given a pair of running shoes and asked to run at a comfortable running pace on a treadmill after a warm-up period. This was video taped. When the results were compared to barefoot running, wearing running shoes was seen to increase strain on weight bearing joints i.e. hip, knee and ankle joints. Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque (54%); and in the knee flexion (36%); and knee varus torques (38%) when running in running shoes compared with barefoot. Researchers were also surprised to note knee torque was higher in running shoes than values recorded in a previous study to determine knee torque during high-heeled shoes during walking. The authors believe these findings confirm the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot but also increase stress on the lower extremity weight bearing joints. Researchers believe this may be due to the elevated heel of the running shoe combined with the increased material under the medial arch.
Kerrigan D C, Franz JR, Keenan GS, Dicharry J, Croce UD, and Wilder RP. The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques (2009) American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Elsevier Volume 1, 12. Pp1058- 1063.