High Heels: Wear Sparingly to Avoid Foot Pain
Not all high heels are as strange as Alexander McQueen’s “Armadillo” pair from his famous show in the spring of 2010. Some models refused to walk in them because they were so scary. Actually, it is good to be wary of most heels over a couple inches tall, because they can really do a number on your feet, as well as increase your chances of ankle sprains and falls.
Smart Fashion – Not So Smart for Feet
What women do to be stylish can often lead to foot pain. If fashion—from pointy toes to tottering heels—is your only mantra, you will pay the consequences. Your feet are designed a certain way to be most efficient at propelling you forward. Tampering with that structure and function is just asking for trouble.
High heels cause your toes to slide forward and get scrunched up in the front of your shoes. Add in pointed tips, and they are bent totally out of position with every step. This can cause ingrown toenails and contribute to formation of bunions, hammertoes, corns, and calluses, as well as damaging nerves and making it painful to walk.
Damage Climbs along with Heel Height
Because heels tip your body forward, you have to compensate by changing the way you balance. You arch your upper body backwards, putting more strain on your lower back and altering your stride, which can lead to problems in your knees and hips as well.
Also, the more you wear high heels, the longer your calf muscles are held in a shorter position. They and your Achilles can actually shorten, leading to problems with the plantar fascia under your arch. Muscle spasms, tendon pain, and heel pain are all likely consequences.
What’s a Fashionista to Do?
You don’t need to avoid heels altogether. As long as you make sensible choices, you can enjoy the look and feel of classy shoes periodically. Ideally, heels should be 2 inches or less and wide enough to provide support. Stilettos don’t provide enough stability. If you must have a taller heel, look for one that has some support for your arch rather than sloping straight down to your toes. Open-toe or strappy styles can reduce some of the pressure on your toes, reducing the chance of corns and calluses.
Wear cushioned insoles inside your shoes to soften the impact on your knees, especially if you are over 40, when the fat pads in your feet begin to deteriorate. Also, make sure there is room in the front to wiggle your toes. Wear heels only on days when you don’t need to walk or stand much, or for just an hour or two at a time. Then alternate with athletic or walking shoes that give adequate support and allow your feet to move naturally.
You need to keep your tendons and muscles stretched out, so follow a stretching routine religiously. This includes calf and Achilles stretches, such as letting your heels hang off the edge of a stair step and slowly lowering and raising them. Strengthen your arch by trying to pick up a pencil with your toes.
Help for Sore Feet
If wearing the wrong high heels has left you with foot pain, call and set up an appointment at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates in New York, and let our expert podiatrists find a solution for you. We can determine the biomechanics of your foot and help you choose the best style, as well as treat your discomfort. Here are our phone numbers:
- Rego Park: (718) 896-4433
- Plainview: (516) 822-9595
- Flushing: (718) 969-2266