Creative prosthetic foot selection enables successful ambulation in stiletto high heels

Elizabeth Russell Esposito, Delbert H. Lipe, Christopher A. Rábago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Walking in high heels presents biomechanical challenges, yet they remain part of many women’s attire. However, women with a lower limb amputation are limited in available footwear options. Case description and methods: This case study is in response to one patient’s assertion that she walked better and more symmetrically in heels than flat shoes with her below-knee prosthesis. She underwent gait analysis in athletic shoes and 10-cm stiletto high heels worn with a pediatric running foot to determine if these claims could be substantiated through biomechanical measures. Global gait asymmetry indices were calculated. Findings and outcomes: Asymmetry indices were nearly identical between athletic shoes and heels but joint-level findings differed substantially. Ankle mechanics were more symmetrical in heels but hip mechanics were less. Conclusion: The maintenance of symmetry in stiletto high heels does not imply maintenance of gait quality, as high heels are known to adversely affect some components walking mechanics. Clinical relevance: Returning to high-heel wear is achievable for prosthesis users. Accommodations can be made using creativity in prosthetic foot selection to enable successful ambulation; however, attention to gait mechanics may be important for patient safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-349
Number of pages6
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • female
  • gait analysis
  • heel height
  • prosthetic design
  • prosthetic foot
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Creative prosthetic foot selection enables successful ambulation in stiletto high heels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this