Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, and Sergio Rossi – do these names send a thrill of excitement pulsing through your veins? Wipe the drool away from your face, ladies, and read on! As much we love watching Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw romping around New York City in stilettos, this just may not be realistic for most of us.
When it comes to shoes, particularly high heels, if you find yourself regularly sacrificing comfort for fashion, you may be doing more damage than you know. It is likely that you are experiencing chronic foot pain, including corns, calluses, bunions, hammertoes, or excruciating pain in the ball of your foot. If this pain worsens over time, then it may be time to reassess your choice in footwear.
It’s important to recognize that high heels constrict the natural shape of your foot, and put pressure on the toes to begin with. Try walking in them over an extended period of time, and you are adding weight – your whole body weight – to the already constricted area.
Got bunions? You know, that painful, aching bony protrusion at the base of the big toe that distorts the shape of the foot? High heels are known to aggravate bunions. The height of the heel sends the weight forward, putting a great amount of pressure on the ball of the foot, and causing a great deal of pain. While lowering the height of your heel to two-inches or less may bring some relief, many women need to get surgery to remove these bunions and straighten the foot.
Other common problems such as corns and calluses occur due to the added pressure from squeezing our toes into high heels. These corns and calluses are thick layers of dead skin that accumulate to protect the affected areas from this constant weight-bearing friction. This problem is especially worsened if shoes don’t quite fit properly.
Research proves that foot pain due to heels increases over time due to the wearing away of the padding on the bottom of our feet. These “fat pads,” as they are called, serve as protective cushioning for the bottom of our feet, and as they thin out over the years, especially after subjecting the feet to the rigors of heels, foot pain goes from bad to worse.
But fear not redheads! No one is telling you to toss your stilettos and resign to a life of tennis shoes. However, there are ways to get smarter about your shoe choices.
Here are six ways to relieve your feet from pressure, but still look rockin’ in your heels:
1. First of all, make sure that your shoe fits properly. If there is a large gap in the rear between your foot and the shoe, rocketing all of your weight forward, then you may want to consider getting resized.
2. Shoe inserts are another option, as they provide extra cushioning for the feet. Orthaheel makes shoe inserts and orthotics that can be found at sites like Footwear Etc. These serve as shock absorbers and replace lost fat pads.
3. Another precautionary suggestion is to vary the height of the heel to give the Achilles tendon some relief.
4. Also, go for a thicker heel to provide better stability and to reduce the pressure on the foot.
5. Pay attention to the angle of the shoe. Footwear that have a more gradual slope protect the arch and the ball of the foot, making platforms arguably healthier than stilettos.
6. Give your toes a breather! Podiatrists can remove corns and calluses, but open-toed shoes are an option to reduce the pressure found from squeezing the toes into narrow, pointy tips.
Feeling hot is just as important as looking hot, so we want you to continue to explore your fashion sense – in a sensible fashion.
Rock it like a Redhead!
Photo Credit: Kara Kochalko, © How to be a Redhead. Co-Founder of How to be a Redhead, Adrienne Vendetti.