High heels are a fixed pillar in fashion. Whether worn for work, a special event or to just feel a few inches taller, women have been wearing high heels for centuries. But despite this shoe style’s overwhelming popularity, many women are still uninformed about high heel health. My patients often ask me if high heels can cause damage, and the answer is, yes. High heels can have lasting effects on your feet, ankles, legs and spine. However, there are easy-to-remember tips that can help relieve pain and lessen potential future damage. Here are my top recommendations for achieving and maintaining the best high heel health.
Before wearing high heels, it’s important to remember to:
- Look for high heels that have a chunkier heel, wedge or platform. These styles are more stable than their stiletto counterparts, because you can distribute body weight across a greater surface area.
- Not exceed a 2 inch height with your high heels, as recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Damage occurs with increased heel heights due to weight shifting forward to the ball of the foot.
- Avoid wearing the same heel heights, same pair of shoes or types of shoes every day, all day.
While wearing high heels, it’s important to remember to:
- Rotate your ankles while sitting. This can give your ankles a nice stretch.
- Sit as much as possible. When you’re wearing high heels, your limbs are working hard. Sitting will give your feet and legs some much-needed rest.
- Take a break. Go to a private area, slide your heels off and flex your toes for a few minutes.
- Bring alternative shoes for the end of the day or the event you’re attending. This can help prevent added pain and relieve pressure.
- Not exceed 3-4 hours of high heel wear and to not exceed that for longer periods of standing and walking.
After wearing high heels, it’s important to remember to:
- Do calf stretches. Beneficial for your health, these stretches can also help reduce knee pain.
- Take Epsom salt foot baths. Not only is this good for your feet, but it will feel great too.
- Massage the arch, ball of foot and calves. High heels put an immense amount of pressure on the balls of your feet and require the work of your arches and calves.
- Ice your feet and legs. A cold application can reduce swelling.
- Wear commuter shoes to and from work/events, and remember to alternate shoes the next day.
Looking for a heel that doesn’t hurt? Vionic offers a variety of shoe styles so you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort.
The Solana Heeled Sandal is a modest block heel that lends stability as well as style for a classic look.
The Carmel Heeled Sandal offers a three-buckle strap silhouette with a deep heel cup and enhanced forefoot contour for innovative comfort and design.
Interested in learning more about high heel health? Read about Vionic’s elevated support technology including enhanced cushioning and overall stability.