Heels are so fun and fashionable, but there is no question they are bad for your feet! Even if you shell out a lot of money for a gorgeous pair of stilettos, mules or pumps, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are buying comfort. Whether you wear them all the time, or for the occasional event, you know the suffering and the instant relief you feel as soon as you take them off. And the higher the heel, the more pain you are likely to endure. The pain can start immediately for some, but the next day can be the ultimate agony. There is actually a term for this – the high heel hangover.
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; 73% admitted already having a shoe-related foot issue. Yes, we sure do love our heels – at pretty much any cost. But that doesn’t mean the hurt isn’t real!
On top of the discomfort and sore feet, you can also suffer from a whole host of more serious foot problems. But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s address what you can do to alleviate some of the achiness.
Stand On Carpet
It may seem like a no brainer, but truly, a softer surface will take the pressure off the balls of your feet. Standing on a hard surface (particularly concrete) is going to add a tremendous amount of pressure on top of the gravity that’s already working against you. So, if you can find a rug or a nice, carpeted area wherever your locale, opt for that.
Invest In Some Insoles
Insoles can make a world of difference and nowadays there are quite a few options that fit nicely into a tight-fitting heel. Options include either a drugstore gel, or you can get fancy and invest in some custom orthotics. Insoles will be great for redistributing your weight. Insoles come in a variety of different materials and different types (i.e., for the entire foot, or just the ball of your foot).
Throw Some Flats In Your Bag
It may sound like it’s defeating the purpose of heels and the look you are going for, but if you are wearing heels to the office, why not slide into some cute ballet flats as you sit at your desk? You can always slip back into your sleek heels if you are heading to the conference room or to refill your coffee. Or, if you headed for a night out on the town, you’re going to be grateful to have the back-ups as you wait for your Uber and bid the night adieu.
Soak With Epsom Salt
Oh, the relief! When you get home, you can either soak in a warm bath, or you can just fill a few inches in the basin of your tub, but the key here is the Epsom salt. This will help reduce inflammation and cramping. And you don’t need a lot! Just a sprinkle will add enough magnesium to the water to have your feet feeling better.
Stretch Your Feet
Honestly, you should be stretching your feet whether you are a heel-wearer or not – it’s good for them! But if you’ve been wearing heels for some time, this can shorten your calf muscle and your Achille’s Tendon. The result is tremendous tightness and pain. Here is an incredibly easy one for you: Facing a wall, place one foot in front of the other with both feet flat on the floor. Bend your front knee and keep your back knee straight. Hold for 90 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat three times throughout the day to continue relieving the pressure.
Prop Your Feet Up
After kicking off your heels, get comfy on your couch or bed & raise your feet up onto a few pillows. The brings blood back from your lower body to your heart and can also reduce a bit of the swelling. And you’ll destress your system, which who doesn’t need that?
Break Out the Ice
If your feet are red, throbbing and you are in truly dire pain, ice can be a lifesaver. This will constrict the blood vessels and reduce inflammation and swelling. Ibuprofen can also be a huge help with reducing some of the irritation.
Neosporin & Band-Aids Are Your Friends
If you’ve scored yourself a few blisters, you’re going to want to treat them immediately. Slather on an antibacterial topical, such as Neosporin, and then apply a Band-Aid. You want to protect your feet from bacteria and fungus which can lead to an infection – and cause severe pain regardless of what shoes you are wearing.
Affecting Other Areas
If you’ve been wearing heels long enough to incur some more serious issues like bunions (that ugly bony protrusion that pops out at the base of the big toe and causes a misshapen foot) and hammertoes – you’re obviously dealing with larger problems. Heels can aggravate a foot problem you may already be dealing with too, such as plantar fasciitis.
If you’ve been wearing heels on the daily for years, your hooves may have realized some calluses and corns. These are a natural defense system for your feet.
Age Intensifies The Effects
As you age, you may feel like high heels can be more difficult to wear – and you’d be right. Getting older means losing some of the fatty deposits in your feet. This means more weight on unprotected areas of the foot and could lead to stress fractures or osteoarthritis. The last thing you want is to be visiting a doctor’s office for a painful procedure to help correct the pain and problems that have occurred.
Yes, heels are oh-so-fun! They build confidence, complete and outfit and boy to they make your legs look remarkable, but it’s important to take care of your feet! After all, you still need them to get you around, so if your heels are causing too much pain, you may want to rethink your shoe game.