"High heels may be painful for anyone; women suffering from varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency are especially prone to discomfort," says Dr. Christopher Hollingsworth, an endovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Associates. "Veins have a series of series of one-way valves to facilitate the return of blood towards the heart... While veins anywhere in the body can become varicose, veins in the legs are most affected due to the larger pressure from sustained standing, walking or other stress on the legs or feet."
I’ve spent hours at the drugstore looking through all the gel insoles, heel pads, ball of the foot pads and everything in between. Nothing seemed to work. Finally I decided to take a good long look at my feet. I try not to do that too often due to years of the aforementioned pointe shoes…. On top of it all I have bunions that aren’t very pretty even when at their best. I do, however, take good care of my feet regularly giving myself pedicures. Dancing did one great service to my feet though, due to so much intensive training my feet are strong and flexible therefore saving me from what might be very painful surgery.
Consider a lower or more comfortable style. Choose a thicker and more stable heel like a platform, wedge, or chunky heel to provide more support and weight distribution. Shy away from pointed-toe styles if you have wide feet or toes, opting for round or almond-shaped instead. You can also buy heeled boots or heels with ankle straps to help support your ankles.
A good local butcher is hard to find, but a cobbler? If you’re lucky enough to live close to one, make him your BFF now! “The rubber lifts and soles of high-heeled shoe styles get worn down with extended wear, making them uneven and uncomfortable,” Barry said. “Take your shoes to your local cobbler when this starts to happen to prevent damage — to you and your shoe!”
Back blisters are the bane of every heel-wearer’s existence. (It’s bad enough your toes are suffering, but your heels, too?) To help prevent friction—that causes the blisters—against your heels, rub a little lip balm to the back of your feet where the skin meets the shoes. This will form an extra layer that’ll help prevent any painful blisters from ruining your day.
Put your foldable flats back in your bag: A night in heels shouldn’t mean you have to hobble home. Before going out, tape your third and fourth toes together using nude or clear medical tape (the flexible kind). This helps take pressure off the ball of the foot. (A bit of biology for those who are interested: There’s a nerve right between these two toes, and the tape minimizes any strain.)
There are many casualties in the war to look and feel sexy, but this isn’t necessarily the way it should. Because wearing heels and feeling great is a quintessentially female experience, and we believe that it is worth fighting for. We don’t have any control over physics, but we do have a few clever ideas on how to wear heels without dying. Below we’ve compiled them for your viewing pleasure.
Check, and then double check the heel placement. Heels (the location at the back of your foot) are another all too common source of misery for heel wearers. So make sure that you get the fit inch perfect here. Choose shoes with heels centered directly under the middle of your foot’s heel (left), not at the very back of the shoe (right). This will help tremendously with your mechanics and it will reduce the chances of heel pain.
Wet the insides of your high heel shoes to stretch them. Water can speed up the breaking in process by helping to mold the inside material of your shoes to your feet. Take a damp cloth and rub the insides of your high heels. Put them on while they’re still moist and wear them for an hour or more. You can also dampen a pair of socks and wear them with your high heels for the same amount of time.
The No. 1 mistake women likely make is not having the right shoe size for their foot. Your foot size changes over the years, even as much as one full size, especially after having kids. Have your feet sized once a year, and do it if you’ve never had it done. Have your feet measured when you’re buying shoes, for width and for length as well. A lot of people think they’re a wide or vise versa and they’re not, so definitely do that before you shop.
I read about this stuff in some magazine at the salon (O, inStyle, Vogue? not sure which) and since high heels are not my best friend, I decided to give it a try. First time I used it, I was totally dressed except for my shoes when I remembered it, so I sprayed it on through my hose. The menthol scent was a kind of strong at first but it went away after a couple minutes. It felt cool and kind of tingly. I waited a minute or so until it dried some then I put on my spike heels and went off to party. Pretty amazing-- nearly 4 hours later I wasn't in any pain even though I 'd been standing nearly the whole time. I used it again the next day for work and was able to stay in my heels all day--a record for me. I did have to touch it up after about 5 hours but then I was good for the rest of the day. It wasn't greasy and didn't stain my stockings or shoes. Good stuff!
I may be a hardened heel advocate, but the lower foot pain in this case just never seemed to be worth the payoff. However, I’ve come to swear by one very cheap, slightly weird-sounding, simple trick to avoid that dull pain in the balls of your feet. You know, the kind that comes from attempting to wear anything taller than three inches with a heel thinner than a pencil for more than two hours straight.