If you’re a woman, chances are high that you’ve worn a pair of high heels at least once in your life. But you may find them almost impossible to walk in or hate wearing them due to the pain they cause you.
Did you know that high heels are actually causing huge problems to Australian feet? A recent study showed that high heel injuries are rising, with injuries doubling between 2002 and 2012. You’re also more likely to have an accident while wearing your heels than if you were playing sport, and bunions, hammertoes and osteoarthritis are also common occurrences in women who can’t get enough of their high heels.
Walking in heels is unnatural, since it decreases the ability of your ankle to hit the ground first, building tension in your leg and keeping your calf muscles extended. This means that your calf muscle fibres will often be shorter and so will your hip flexors. Since your knees are bent, your pelvis will rotate forward which further impacts your back, causing you to lean backwards in an unnatural position.
And for women who constantly wear heels, you may find that your foot becomes so used to them that it actually hurts to wear flat shoes.
So how can you ensure that you walk in heels correctly and wear them safely?
Give them a test-drive
If you’ve purchased high heels for a special occasion, give them a try at the supermarket. This will allow you to balance on the trolley if you need to and you can get your feet used to wearing the heels in a place with a lot of space. You’ll also be able to try different movements as you pivot, bend and stretch to grab things off of shelves.
Keeping your balance in high heels can be tricky, but you’ll find it much easier if you have a strong core. Try yoga or commit to lifting weights a few times a week, along with cardio and plenty of stretching to keep your muscles stretched and comfortable.
Sit as much as possible
This goes against everything we’ve been taught about moving throughout the day. That’s why it can be a good idea to wear flats into the office so you can get lots of movement into your day while catching public transport. Once you have your heels on, sit whenever you can to give your feet a rest and allow you to relax.
There are now so many ways to reduce the pain from wearing heels, that it makes sense to take advantage of new technology. Once you’ve taken them for a spin a few times and you know which parts pinch and rub, you can then insert gel pads, foot cushions and rub relief strips to make sure they won’t be painful when you’re wearing them all day.