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These styles are more slip-proof, and the greater surface area of the sole helps absorb shock, adds stability and reduces stress on pressure points.Kirsten’s Pick: Aravon’s offers low-heeled shoes in wide sizes with roomy tow boxes and many have rocker soles, which in small studies have been shown to reduce joint pain.They’re hard on the arch and ball of the foot and can wear down joints,” says Bryan West, a podiatric surgeon who practices in Livonia, Mich.

Risk – as well as the frequency of low back pain – rose with the height of the heel, according to their study, presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics.

In a study, published in , Hannan found that women with a history of wearing high heels also experienced more foot pain later in life than those who opted for healthier shoes.

Researchers at Chicago’s Rush University studying the joint load, or stress, caused by different shoes worn by people with knee OA found that wearing flip-flops (as well as going barefoot and wearing flat, flexible walking shoes) creates significantly less knee stress than clogs and sneakers known as stability shoes, which have cushioning in the heel and forefoot and a firm, dense midsole that supports the middle area of the foot.

“In OA, higher joint loads are linked to more pain and arthritic damage and progression,” says lead study author Najia Shakoor, MD, a rheumatologist and associate professor of medicine at Rush University.

Kirsten’s Pick: Earthies, a new line of high heels by earth footwear that features a cupped heel, anatomical arch and cradle toe area to distribute weight evenly.

Low Heels These can produce the same problems as higher heels, just to a lesser degree.If you have arthritis in your lower extremities, look for sandals with more support.“The strappier the better,” says New York City podiatric surgeon Jacqueline Sutera, an associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.Flip-Flops Experts say these shoes, which are not particularly stable and can increase falling risk, are best for people who do not have problems with their feet or with balance.But flip-flops may offer some benefit to people with knee OA, according to a 2010 study published in .Add a pointy toe and you can have even more discomfort.