That pain that you feel at the end of a long night—no, it's not a hangover and it's not exhaustion. We're talking about something worse—the pain that's caused by a seemingly evil and malicious pair of high heels. But, believe it or not, not all high heels are created equal. In some cases, they can actually be healthier for your feet than flats. "Excess pronation is a condition that affects 75 percent of the population and has been related to many conditions, such as heel pain (otherwise known as plantar fasciitis), knee pain, and even lower-back pain," says podiatrist Phillip Vasyli.
Do some foot exercises and stretching. These exercises will help your nerves get more flexible and take the next heel day attack better prepared. The stretches that you’ll want to do are the stretches that will target the front of the foot and ankle, like pointing your toes down and pulling your toes up with a strap to get the Achilles’ tendon and the calf muscles. And then side to side to get to the instep and the outside of the foot.
Know your foot type. In my opinion, a podiatrist would be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on. If you can’t run out to the podiatrist, there’s a couple of neat ways to see if you have a flat foot or a high-arch foot. Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.
"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."
This on-trend shoe offers a double-cushioned footbed and a rubber sole, one of Dr. Brenner’s requirements when it comes to choosing healthier heels: "I don’t like leather bottoms because people can slip and slide." Instead, Dr. Brenner urges shoppers to choose a shoe with rubber or treads on the bottom, so that they stand on a firm surface. We also love that the metallic leather on this pair lets you take them from the office to date night in no time.
Lead With Your Thighs. It’s all in the thighs, as strange as that probably sounds hear us out. When you walk, lead each step with your thighs, moving your entire leg forward in one fluid motion. Think about it: You’re probably used to letting your feet take the lead. It takes practice, but if you employ this method you’ll find yourself placing less pressure on the ball of your foot, and ultimately reducing the torque your feet are under.
Wear your heels around the house before a night out to get a feel for them. This is particularly helpful while breaking in a new pair of stilettos, as you can suss out where the shoes might rub. One way to deal with this is to put on thick socks with your shoes before a night out and blow dry the area where the shoes might rub for half a minute, which would help the shoe to expand and stretch. Another method is to fill plastic bags with water and place them in your shoes, then put them in a freeze. The ice will help stretch out the shoes, making those nasty rubbing blisters a thing of the past!
Gel insoles solve a lot of heel-wearing problems. For one thing, they can prevent toes from scrunching and thereby prevent blisters. Dr. Scholl's sells high heel insoles with arch shaping to keep pressure off your foot. If your toes are constantly sliding forward in your shoes, there’s even a cushion designed to hold the ball of your foot in place. The gel inserts stick to your shoe insoles well but are also easy to swap among your shoes. The product's website advises to replace them every six months, or when they start to tear.
There’s a way to walk in flats and there’s a way to strut in heels and never should the two be confused. “Heels are not sneakers — you have to carry yourself differently,” Stempien said. “Use your core muscles and stand up straight. Pretend you’re strutting your stuff on the catwalk and use your hips and legs to propel yourself forward. It should feel more like a bounce than a normal stride. Practice it at home until you’ve got it down pat — this can be one of the easiest ways to avoid pain in heels.”
Style: Foot surgeons advise sticking to a height of two inches or less. Sky-high heels shift your foot forward, putting pressure on the ball of your foot—and more pressure equals more pain and chance of injury. I'll wear a little higher heel, but then I'll look for ones with a little platform in the toe-box to make the angle less steep. Styles with a T-strap or Mary Janes have the extra benefit of holding your foot in place.
Cover the parts of your feet that are being pinched by your heels with moleskin, soak your feet in water, and then wear your heels for a few hours. Moleskin is basically a more comfortable bandage that comes in sheets that you can cut into any size. One side is sticky and one side is soft. It protects the areas of your feet that hurt when wearing your heels, which is typically where blisters might form. Dampening the moleskin and then wearing your shoes will help the insides of your shoes to mold more quickly to the shape of your foot.
I was intrigued by the idea of being able to wear heels again. I really put it to the test, by wearing heels into the city. Lot's of walking, and I survived. Unfortunately, I did not bring the small purse vial of spray, and was unable to refresh the spray after a few hours. I wore those boots for 8 hours. I felt the cooling/numbing effect of the spray. I have bunions and osteoarthritis. I threw away the boots I was wearing that day, because, let's face it, heels are not healthy for anyone, at any time. I do, however, plan to use this product to survive (even enjoy) my son's impending wedding.
You need to complement your shoe shape and sole width with the shape of your feet to avoid pain on your feet while wearing your favorite pair of heels so it is important to know your foot type. Our suggestion is that you consult a podiatrist; it will be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on. If you can’t run out to the podiatrist, there’s a couple of neat ways to see if you have a flat foot or a high-arch foot. Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.