What high heels do to your feet

Most high heels are uncomfortable. Even your best, most luxurious pair will leave your feet aching after a couple of hours walking. Sure, beauty is pain, and we make sacrifices for the sake of fashion. However, wearing high heels all day can cause some serious problems with your feet.

Researchers have found there is a close link between high heels and foot deformity, musculoskeletal pain and injury. In addition, wearing heels is reported to increase osteoarthritis, bunions, and hammer toes.

High heels can easily lead to metatarsalagia, a term used to described neuroma, bursitis, ligament damage in the forefoot. This can result in permanent foot damage and deformity. Ingrown toenails and callous/corns are often caused from high heels.

What to look for

The slope of the shoe is more importance than the heel height. Look for platform soles to decrease the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot, so your weight can be more distributed across the entire foot. A thicker heel also spreads your weight more evenly and decreases the risk of spraining your ankle.

Avoid narrow toe boxes that squeeze the toes. Narrow, pointy high heels are the perfect storm for foot pain.

A pointed shoe should narrow after the toe box to give you the illusion of length while providing enough space for your foot.

Cushioned forefoot yes!

High heels should fit snugly and hold the foot firmly in place. They shouldn’t be slightly loose and cause your foot to slide back and forth. Friction is the culprit behind blisters, bleeding feet, ripped toenails and bumps at the back of your heels (Haglund’s Deformity).

There are some great brands doing comfort high heels that incorporate these features. Check out Bared, Frankie4, Ziera, Rockports, Florsheim, Vionic.

Try This

While barefoot, raise up onto the balls of the feet, keeping your weight predominately over the first and second toes (not letting the foot roll outwards).

Hold this for 30 seconds, standing still or practising walking around in this position.

Descend back onto your heels and repeat the exercise until your legs start to burn. Stretch your calf muscles well after the exercise and repeat on a daily basis.