High Heel Hazards

Hazards of High Heels

“Australian study finds women who wear heels regularly strain joints and muscles.”
Did we really need a study for this?  Of course we know that wearing high heels strains our joints and muscles.  But do women care?  Nope.  Heels are an essential part of our wardrobe…We wear them while Pregnant.  We wear them walking down Michigan Ave.  We wear them dancing.  We wear them for week-long meetings!  The Sky (high) is the limit…but all this clearly comes at a price.  42% of women wear shoes even if they hurt (though I think that number is much higher than 42%).    And the sins of our youth (what we do in our 20’s and 30’s, unfortunately come with a price we end up paying while in our 60’s and 70’s.  According to this study, wearing high heels for extended periods of time causes very bad issues.   Of course as I pen this blog, I am also the “victim” of high heels…as I am now sporting a Hammer Toe, which according to credible, medical sources, is the cause of wearing high heels!  Ugh!!  

High heels cause permanent damage such as:

1.  You continue to walk in high heel position, even when not wearing high heels!

2.  They shorten the  calf muscles

3.  Causes a tight Achilles Tendon (no one wants a tight achilles tendon)

4.  Hammer toes; bunions; corns and other unpleasant foot and toe ailments!

How to Alleviate these Pesky Issues

1.  First and foremost do not wear your high heels walking about the streets.  Wear comfortable shoes (does not have to be gym shoes) and put on our high heels at your destination.  I’ve mentioned them before, and I shall mention them again…Fast Flats (or Footzy Rolls)…foldable ballet slippers that fold into the size of a wallet that I put in my purse, and switch with my high heels.  Don’t leave home without ’em. You can get Footzy Rolls at http://www.abernook.com.

2.  Stretch.  Stretch.  Stretch your calves and legs daily and often (like we vote in Chicago).  And when you are done stretching, stretch some more.

3.  Switch your shoes often (and I’m speaking numerous times throughout the day).  You can bring 2 pairs of shoes to wear at the office or for a day where you are out and about.  You can also leave an additional pair at your office for a quick switch, so you aren’t always bringing 2 pairs of extra shoes to the office.

How to be Comfortable in your Heels

Buy the right size. Sure, seems obvious, but when’s the last time you got measured when you bought shoes? Podiatrists know that feet can grow larger as we get older (and pregnancy can result in longer or wider feet, too). That’s why it’s crucial to have your feet measured every time you buy shoes. Make sure there’s a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the front of the shoe, to give your toes room to move. For heels, this means you may need to go up a size to get a comfortable fit. (Not sure it’s imperative to have your feet measured everytime you buy shoes, as I’d be having them measured monthly, or truthfully, weekly…but at least twice/year).
Stick to round toes. Lucky for us, round-toed shoes are back in style this season! Where pointy toes can wrench your big toe inward, causing joint pain, crunched toes, and even the beginnings of bunions, round toes allow your toes to lie flat and spread out naturally. That makes for much more comfort. And if you can’t swear off your pointy toes completely? Have some round-toed shoes to alternate with the pointy ones.
Don’t go too high. Podiatrists agree that a heel of one to two inches is a good choice for comfort and foot health. And with kitten heels still such a popular look, that’s great news. Avoid three or four-inch heels, which put undue pressure on the ball and bones in the front of your foot.  If you must wear the sky-high heels, try to wear them for only a few hours at a time, switching them out with a more sensible heel.
Tailor your width. Sometimes the toe isn’t the problem — it’s the width. Many fashion shoes come in a standard medium width. But if you have wide feet, medium-width shoes will feel uncomfortable. When you find a pair of shoes you love, see if they come in a wide width; if not, a shoemaker can usually stretch the shoes to widen the toe box, enhancing the comfort of the shoe.
Cushion up. When you have the shoe size and style right, it’s time to think about cushioning. Many fashion shoes come with less-than-adequate cushioning on the area you need it most: right under the ball of your foot. Especially when you’re wearing heels, which shifts your weight fully onto the ball of your foot, ample cushioning will help your feet stay comfy. If your shoes don’t have enough, consider adding some with a shoe insert. A brand called Foot Petals makes Tip Toes ($6.95), a flower-shaped insert that provides great cushioning.

Alternate. Wearing heels for many days in a row can make your feet feel ravaged. To maintain some comfort, switch between heels and a flatter pair of shoes. Although heels elongate your legs when you’re wearing a skirt, they are less important when you are wearing trousers, so give feet a rest on those days

(Source:  Ladies Home Journal)

Obviously no one expects that women will stop dressing up in heels altogether, but if you limit the amount of wear time and the heel’s height you’re, um, taking a step in the right direction. Doctors also recommend: Massaging your feet and rolling them over a golf ball or ice when you take off your shoes at night and gripping a towel and holding your foot up for 15 seconds, three times a day, can also help strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the feet.

I think it’s also important to point out, most shoe designers are Men.  Figures.    The men design these shoes for women, and (for the “most part”), men do not wear these high heels (keep your snarky opinions to yourself).  They have No idea what we endure.  And one more thought to ponder, our obsession with high heels is making foot specialists Rich!

And talk about timely, Business Week published an article this week on the “Best office shoes for women“.  I’ve included a link to the article at the end of this blog…but the author also has some great tips, that I didn’t cover:

Five footwear tips from Katy Bowman:
1. Avoid a pointy, super-narrow toe-box. The less space for toes, the greater chances of developing bunions and neuromas—and the more pressure is placed on toes when you’re upright. (I actually covered this, but wanted to list her complete tips).
2. Opened-back, slide-on footwear requires toe gripping that can lead to hammer toes and foot tension. Find a style with straps that keep the shoe attached to your body so your toes do not have to work.
3. If your ankles wobble with each step, you need either more hip strength or a better-shaped heel. In any event, wobbling around while walking tends to conjure up images of playing dress-up in mom’s closet. (Again, my ankles may be thick, but sadly, they are weak).
4. Dropping an inch off your most frequented heel height is a great way to improve the state of the feet, knees, and back. It depends on your height, but a heel that’s less than two inches high is good. The ideal height is no heel. Placing your feet at any angle does some damage.
5. Invest in a pair of Italian, handmade flats. Find a pair of beautiful boots, embellished ballet flats, or a simple, yet classic, nude staple.

Most comfortable high heel shoe Brands

Taryn Rose

Cole Haan Air – Nike Air technology

Easy Spirit

Dana Davis

High Heel Shoes are a fashion accessory, like a pair of earrings  – NOT to be meant to walk in the street – Dr. Nancy Snyderman

And remember the higher the heel, the higher you are to God (or heaven).   And She with the most shoes wins!  Of course I will not be winning this summer, while I have foot surgery to repair my hammer toes…so I can go back to wearing high heels come fall, 2012! 🙂

Upcoming Blogs…MANic Monday:  Dressing for the Big and Tall Man…Mike, this blog’s for you! 🙂

Organizing Your Closet…E., this blog’s for you! 🙂

Shopping Your Closet…Terry, this blog’s for you! 🙂




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