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Jayne Howarth
It's safe to wear those eight inch high Louboutins: wearing stilettos and other sky-scraper heels causes no damage to a women’s ankles, it has been claimed.

Professor Nachi Chockalingam, professor of clinical biomechanics at Staffordshire University, will tell the eighth annual Staffordshire Conference on Clinical Biomechanics that there is little evidence to support the claim that high heels can damage the ankle.

The academic and his colleagues have investigated whether or not high heels cause ankle problems, stiffness or issues with balance.

“There is anecdotal evidence that wearing high heeled footwear regularly can lead to detrimental changes in the ankle joint structures and compromise control of balance. However, there is little substantial evidence to support such a position," he says.

His study involved 18 women aged between 19 and 42, some wearing high heels and some wearing flat shoes for an average of seven hours a day, five days a week.

Results showed that, as most participants did not wear their heeled footwear for more than nine hours a day, allowing time for their joints to recover, there were no negative effects.

Prof Chockalingam, who is also the conference organiser, said: “The conference is one of a kind in Europe. Its main purpose is to disseminate the latest research and to create a link between academic research, clinical practice and application of new technologies and techniques in the industry.”

He will also speak at the conference to dispute research that claims running barefoot running is better for avoiding impact-related injuries among runners than those who wear training shoes.

 The conference, which is expected to attract around 100 delegates within the field of biomechanics, will also see experts such as Prof James Richards, University of Central Lancashire, Dr Adam Shortland, St. Guys, London, and Dr Toni Arndt, Karolinska Institute, Sweden, presenting work.

Other speakers at the conference include Simon Bartold, a visiting fellow at Staffordshire University and international research consultant at ASICS, a sports shoe developer.

The 8th Staffordshire Conference on Clinical Biomechanics is part of Staffordshire University’s HEalth Factor 2010 series of events. It will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17, at the University’s Ashley Building, Stoke-on-Trent.

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