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If you’re wearing high heels for a day at the races, your feet are probably going to hurt.

Being a female Podiatrist, I understand that many women love the lift and length that high heels offer. We are willing to forego a bit of comfort and stability for the sake of fashion.

However, it’s our feet that end up being the fashion victims when they’re scrunched into narrow, arching stilettos or clunky pumps.

5 Reasons to Rethink Towering Heels on Race Day

What Can We Do to Prevent This?

  1. For starters, you’ll get a more comfortable fit if you go shoe shopping at the end of the day, when your feet are slightly swollen. Don’t forget, the taller and skinnier a heel gets, the more potentially harmful the shoe becomes.
  2. When you go shoe shopping, you should focus on fit. This can be difficult because shoe sizes can vary greatly depending on the style of the high heel and depending on the manufacturer. So, start with the shoe sizers in the stores, and take into account the width of the shoe as compared to your foot, the thickness of the heel and the shape of the toe.
  3. Surprisingly, flat shoes are not the ideal for overall foot and leg health. Wear shorter heels, 1 ½ to 2 inches, it reduces the severity of pain and stress on your body. Square-toed shoes with a roomy toe box help prevent the pinching and scrunching of the foot that can lead to lots of painful problems. Also keep in mind that partially open-toe styles put less stress on the toes.
  4. I frequently dispense custom-designed orthotics or inserts in my office for women to place in their high heels for added comfort and prevention of more serious deformities that could potentially require surgery.
  5. Trying to balance your weight correctly will help reduce inflammation and pain. Adjusting your position but maintaining a straight posture will also help. Gentle stretching will improve any pain or discomfort you may already be experiencing and will stretch the muscles so that they retain flexibility.

Bring an extra, more comfortable pair of shoes with you when you wear heels so you can change shoes if necessary. When possible, put comfort inserts and cushions in your high-heeled footwear.

High Heel Fatigue Stretches

Try these easy stretches to avoid damage to your Achilles tendons, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Gently hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

  • For the calf: Place one foot on the first stair or ledge; bend the toe upward, and slowly reach for the tops of the toes with both hands.
  • For the Achilles: Stand in lunge position, with both hands on a wall and both heels on the ground, the front leg bent and the back leg straight. Hold, and then switch legs.
  • For the hamstrings: Cross one foot in front of the other and bend forward at the waist until you feel the pull. Switch legs and repeat.

Try to save your highest high-fashion heels for occasions that don’t require a lot of walking or standing around for hours on end.

Finally, remember that there’s no such thing as breaking in a shoe. If it doesn’t feel good at the start, it won’t get any better later.

If you have a bunion, hammertoes or other issues with your feet when you wear heels, make an online appointment or call the office (859-261-1141.