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In 2016, scientists from the Department of Physical Therapy in the Sahmyook University in Korea conducted a study to examine the effects of increased heel height and gait velocity on balance control. Balance control refers to the ability of the body to maintain itself along the line of the center of gravity within a base of support. This must be achieved with minimal postural sway velocity which is the horizontal movement of a body trying to maintain balance when standing still. Wearing high heels narrows the base of support that the body has in order to avoid falling and also restricts the area within which the body must sway. In this study, the participants were told to wear either a low or high heel and walk at a low and high speed on a treadmill. As a result of this experiment, the researchers were able to conclude that as heel height increased, the sway velocity of the bodies increased which also modified the position of the knee joint. Muscles have to realign the entire body especially the hips along the line of gravity. As the weight of the body shifted forward, the hips were taken out of alignment and the knee joints experienced stress in order to adjust to the shift.
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High heels have a long history, dating as far back as the tenth century. The Persian cavalry, for example, wore a kind of boot with heels in order to ensure their feet stayed in the stirrups. Furthermore, research indicates that heels kept arrow-shooting riders, who stood up on galloping horses, safely on the horse. This trend has translated into the popular 21st-century cowboy boot. Owning horses was expensive and time-consuming, so to wear heels implied the wearer had significant wealth. This practical and effective use of the heel has set the standard for most horse-back riding shoes throughout history and even into the present day. Later, in the 12th century in India, heels become visible again. The image of a statue from the Ramappa Temple proves this, showing an Indian woman's foot clad in a raised shoe. Then, during the Medieval period, both men and women wore platform shoes in order to raise themselves out of the trash and excrement filled streets. In 1430, chopines were 30 inches (76 cm) high, at times. Venetian law then limited the height to three inches—but this regulation was widely ignored. A 17th-century law in Massachusetts announced that women would be subjected to the same treatment as witches if they lured men into marriage via the use of high-heeled shoes.
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