Teetering around in several inches of heel not only hurts the feet, but causes accidents. More than a third of women have fallen while wearing them, the study found.
The rise in popularity of such footwear has been encouraged by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker.
One in 10 women now wear high heels three days a week, according to the study.
The research, carried out by the American based shoe company MBT, examined 1,000 women and showed that the long term health of teenagers was particularly at risk with a growing number of under 18s wearing high heels before their bodies have fully developed.
Current teenagers are 50 times more likely to have hip trouble than their mothers, while the number of girls suffering from back problems has also increased tenfold in the last generation, according to the study.
Podiatrists have long criticized the high heel, warning women that they cause permanent damage.
Common complaints from women who regularly wear them include heel pain and calluses.
Such restrictive footwear can also cause bunions, ingrown toenails, nerve problems, stress fractures and “hammertoes” – a permanent bend in the middle joint of a toe.
But the study concluded that flat pumps, popularized by model Kate Moss and singer Amy Winehouse, were equally problematic because they offer no support at all.