Before you purchase your next pair of high heels, read on. This is not a post written by a podiatrist recommending high heels but a post written by a podiatrist that understands that we are all slaves to fashion or have a job with an underlying requirement to wear high heeled shoes. This is a guide to help you find the most appropriate high heeled shoes for you and your feet. This is particularly useful information seeing that the Christmas party season is upon us.
I’m going to cover;
- Thick high heels
- Fixation in high heels
- Best heel height
- Hard and thin shoe soles
- Shoe inserts for high heels
- Take a break from the high heels perodically
- Yoga feet
- Check your high heel sizing
1. Thick Heels
Look for high heels with a large surface area at the heel. Pointy, thin heels such as stilettos make weightbearing loads more focal at the midpoint of the heel and can cause your feet to wobble around. Look for chunkier heels or wedges to redistribute forces throughout the heel and make your stance more stable. Aim for thicker heels for most days and stilettos for special occasions or to match your LBD. The worst type of heels that you can wear are heelless shoes as made famous by Victoria Beckham.
Coverage on top of your foot will help the shoe to stay on the foot and decrease your risk of falls. Slip on heels will make your toe muscles work overtime to keep them on. The more coverage the better. In winter wear heeled boots and in summer wear an ankle strap or foot strap.
3. Lower that Heel Height
Mega high heels may be the fashion right now but Podiatrist, Dr Cylie Williams says ”anything over seven centimetres places you at great risk of ankle injury, just due to how the foot is positioned, and no amount of muscle strength is going to change that”. Read this article from the Age on emergency room visitations regarding injuries from high heels. So follow the expert’s advice and make your heel height benchmark below 7cm. If you do injure your foot and ankle, ring Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy for an emergency consultation with either a physiotherapist or podiatrist.
4. Forget the Hard and Thin Soles
Thin soles at the ball of the foot will not only have minimal cushioning but increase the weightbearing pressure going into the underlying tissues increasing the risk of injury to bones, ligaments and joints. Look for a platform shoe or a thicker sole with a cushioned, soft inner to help to absorb pressure.
5. Shoe Inserts
If your heels don’t have good internal cushioning, purchase off-the-shelf products such as silicon toe inserts or heel cushions. Make sure you have enough room in the shoes to cater for these or else you will cause problems elsewhere on your feet.
6. Relax, Kick off Your Shoes
Remove your killer heels at intervals throughout the day and perform some stretches to help the ankle and foot muscles, tendons and ligaments return to their normal position and length. See below for some stretching advice.
7. Yoga Feet
Perform the following exercises after wearing high heels and at intervals during the day. This will help to relax the muscles that have been placed into a shortened position when wearing heels.
Achilles stretch: PICTURE: gastroc and soleus/Achilles stretch from exercise leaflets
1. Achilles stretch
4. hallux adduction
8. Don’t Compromise with the Wrong Size
Just because a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choo high heels are on special and there is only size 7s left and you are a size 8, don’t get them. Furthermore, if you have a pair of heels in the cupboard that are 10 years old, they may not be the right size for you anymore. Your foot changes shape with age and pregnancy. Have your feet measured when you are buying shoes and keep yourself updated on your foot length and width. See a podiatrist who can educate you on your exact foot type; flat, neutral, high-arched, wide or narrow.
And remember, one day you will have to exchange your heels for a flatter option; you don’t see many grandmothers kicking about in high heels.