Nothing defines the holiday season more than dressing up in festive cocktail dresses with our favorite strappy stilettos. Dr. Liza Egbogah BSc, DC, DOMP, a leading body and posture expert based in Toronto, cautions women to take care of their feet while wearing high heels. Heels alter the position of the body placing more weight on the balls of the feet, thereby shortening the calf muscles, over stretching the ligaments to the front of the knee, tightening the hip flexor muscles, and placing more pressure on the lower back. “Consistently wearing high heels can lead to the formation of bunions, ankle sprains, knee injuries, hip and lower back pain,” she shares. Here Dr. Egbogah offers seven ways to keep you happy in your heels.
- Soak the feet in Epsom salt: “Epsom salt can help relieve muscle tension and joint stiffness that can be caused by wearing high heels,” said Dr. Egbogah. “By improving circulation, they can also reduce inflammation in aching feet.” She recommends a soak in a combination of warm water, Epsom salts, and peppermint or lavender essential oils for 20 minutes.
- Choose high heels with a chunkier heel: These types of high heels are safer than stilettos because you’re more stable and don’t need to overuse your muscles to create stability.
- Place cushioning or orthotics inside your shoes: This helps to distribute your weight more evenly.
- Buy shoes made of natural materials: Natural materials, like leather, conform to your foot and stretch throughout the day in response to the changing size of your feet. It also allows your feet to breathe.
- Choose a shoe with a rubber grip: A sole with a rubber grip prevents you from slipping while you walk in the heels.
- Limit your heel height: Ideally, women should wear a heel height of three inches or less, or a 4-inch heel with a 1-inch platform. Platforms reduce the pitch of the shoe so less pressure is placed on the balls of your feet.
- Be conscious of your posture: Center your weight in your arches while walking, and rest your weight in the heel while standing to help prevent injury.