Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be another article compelling you to leave your computer, march over to your closet and throw out all of your high heels and replace them with sneakers immediately. (That was last week's blog post!) Because although they can really do damage to your feet, high heels have earned their rightful place in our society. A survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association showed some 42% of women admitted they'd wear a shoe they liked even if it gave them discomfort. Let’s face it, we are slaves to fashion!
So if high heels are here to stay, we’ve got to find a way to make them work for us, not against us. If you know what to do to lessen the harmfulness of high heels, there’s no reason you can’t continue to rock beautiful heels while not putting your feet at risk.
Eliminate unnecessary use! Choose when to wear your heels carefully. Maybe you need to wear them at work, but you certainly don’t have to wear them running from the train to the office, or grabbing a bite to eat down the block. So when you get dressed for the day, wear your comfy shoes and pack your heels in your bag. For nights out, it’s a good idea to think about your activity when considering your footwear choices. Wear high heels to events where you will be seated or not on your feet for long periods of time.
Pay attention to Fit! I think this might be the single best advice we can give when talking about all pairs of shoes, always. Fit is important. High heels that are too tight cause all sorts of issues (that we highlighted here in our last entry). And pumps that are too big will cause your foot to side forward and create more pressure and pain for your poor little toes. Speaking of toes…
Take care of your toes! Whenever possible, choose open-toed shoes since they will relieve pressure on any current corns and calluses, and also prevent other issues like ingrown toenails, bunions, hammer toes, etc. resulting from cramming your toes into those pointy toe boxes.
Go chunky! Choose to wear chunky heels and platforms over stilettos. The thicker heel will give you more stability, help with balance and might even distribute your weight a little more evenly throughout the foot. They look good and they are even easier to walk in.
Stretch it out! Overuse of heels causes your Achilles tendon to harden and shrink and the more you wear them the worse it can be. So make sure to stretch it out after a day in heels to undo some of the day’s damage. Alternating heel heights can help too.
Wear shorter heels! This might seem like a no-brainer, but really, it makes a difference. Pressure on the forefoot is roughly three times as much when wearing three-inch heels compared to one inchers. Shorter heels also reduce the overall stress on your body, making it less painful.
So, granted, there is not much that Carrie Bradshaw and your podiatrists would see eye-to-eye on. But if you keep in mind these high heel guidelines, you can keep your feet happy and still look high heel fabulous. If you have any additional helpful high heel hints, leave them in the comments section below!