High Heels – What You Need to Know

The position of the foot in the shoe and an often-narrow heel width can cause the ankle to become unstable, resulting in ankle sprains.

The calf muscle may shorten and tighten.  Wearing high-heels for long periods – more than six months – may cause the calf muscle to become shortened over time.  The body compensates for this tightness in the calf-muscle by lowering the arch of the foot, or affecting the knee, hip or back.

10 Tips for Wearing High Heels

  1. High heels can throw weight onto the ball of the foot, which may lead to callus, painful bunions, corns and deformity.
  2. High heels can push the centre of mass in the body forwards, causing the spine to bend backwards to compensate. This can lead to back problems.
  3. Keep high heels for special occasions.
  4. Save backless high-heeled shoes for evening glamour.  Backless shoes force your toes to claw as you walk, straining the muscles if worn over a long period.
  5. Calf stretches help to keep feet supple and keep a good range of movement.  To stretch your calf and heel, stand facing a wall with feet hip width apart and slightly bent at the knee.  Take one step forwards, and using your arms to lean against the wall, keep your leg in front bent and the leg behind straight.  Both feet should be flat on the ground.  Lean in towards the wall as you do, you should feel your muscles stretching in your calf and heel.  Hold and slowly return to a standing position.  Do this with each leg about five times.  Seek further help if you experience problems doing this exercise.
  6. Vary your heel heights from day to day, one day wearing low heels, and the next day slightly higher heels.
  7. Vary shoe types.
  8. For everyday use, keep heel heights to about 4cm.
  9. Consider wearing shoes with a strap or lace over the instep rather than slip-ons.  This will help stop your foot sliding forward, a bit like a seatbelt in a car.
  10. Visit a registered podiatrist/chiropodist for advice.

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