For many women, there are few things that feel more ladylike than donning a new outfit with a favorite jewelry piece and high heels for a special occasion. An article published on the WebMD Women’s Health blog notes that the elegance and femininity of high heels we see in the media makes them seem more innocuous than they are: Carrie Bradshaw – Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex in the City – seemed carefree and effortless in 4-inch stilettos, but the reality is that high heels can cause foot pain.
Pain in the feet related to high heels can arise from relatively simple conditions – such as bunions, corns, and calluses – to more aggressive ones – such as hammertoe (a deformity of the toe that causes it to bend downward at one or both joints) and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the foot’s ball.
Regardless of the pain and health challenges that may arise in the future, many women aren’t ready to throw out their favorite shoes: respondents to a recent American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) survey found that 4 out of 10 women would put up with pain if they liked the style of a shoe, while 7 out of 10 are already experiencing pain caused by their footwear.
The good news is that a few simple tactics can help you better protect your feet while wearing high heels, so that you are less likely to develop long-lasting health problems.
Reducing high heel pain – five strategies
The tips recommended in the WebMD article were curated from the recommendations of the APMA and two doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). Here they are:
- Make sure your high heels fit. If your heels aren’t snug, your foot will slide to the front of the shoe, which increases the amount of force on your foot. Narrow heels often work best if they fit but aren’t overly tight.
- Inserts should be used. You may be able to use one that covers the whole shoe, but in cases where you want to focus on a particular part of the foot, silicone metatarsal pads work better. Morin says they are great at shock-absorption and feel relatively natural, with a similar consistency to body fat.
- Use thicker heels. If the heel is thick, it will be easier for you to distribute your weight and decrease the impact on your feet. Switching between various high heel heights can help reduce Achilles tendon issues.
- Don’t let your heel descend rapidly. Stilettos will cause your foot to drop straight down to the bottom of the shoe, but other styles allow your foot to slowly make its way down the slope or pitch, which minimizes the force on the arches.
- Let your toes breathe. Open-toe versions of high heels can reduce stress for calluses and corns. Podiatrists can remove corns and calluses, and pain management professionals can treat foot pain; but in the meantime, take a load off your feet by shifting toward your open-toe options.
Getting expert help for foot pain
Many women feel that their foot pain arose from their own footwear decisions, so the discomfort is a natural part of life. At Pain Stop Clinics, we want to stop your pain today with our responsible pain management programs. Book your free consultation, X-ray, and hydro-massage now.