Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Susan H.N. Jeno


Postural Balance; Foot -- physiology; Shoes


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of elevated shoe heights on static and dynamic balance in healthy young women. The balance of 30 female volunteer subjects with ages ranging from 20 to 26 years (mean age = 22.3 years) was tested. Dynamic balance was tested using the limits of stability (LOS) test on the NeuroCom® Balance Master (NBM®), version 6.1 as well as the Functional Reach Test (FRT). Each subject's static balance was tested using the bilateral stance test on the NBM®. Subjects participated in a one time testing session which consisted of the performance of the three balance tests in a random order with elevated-soled shoes on (minimum heel height of 4.0 cm) and barefoot.

Significant differences in dynamic stability were noted in the LOS test and in the FRT. The results of the two dynamic tests suggest that balance may be impaired with the wearing of shoes with elevated soles. The bilateral stance test for static stability found that subjects exhibited increased postural sway when barefoot as compared to with elevated shoes on. The results of this static test suggest that stationary balance may be somewhat more stable with elevated shoe wear.

The findings of the LOS test and FRT are in agreement with much of the previous high-heeled shoe literature, however, the bilateral stance test for postural sway is not in agreement with some of the previous research. Nonetheless, it is apparent that elevated shoe heights can produce dynamic balance deficits and therefore clinicians should always carefully inspect and assess a clients footwear as part of the evaluation procedure.