They’ve been loved by women for centuries for their ability to give the appearance of better posture and longer legs, and for instantly turning a walk into a strut. Plus, they look super cute on your feet. That’s right. We’re talking about high heels.
As pretty as they might be, heels can do some serious long-term damage to our feet, and this can have a domino effect throughout the body. Here are a few ways our high heels can be wreaking havoc and a few tips for how to combat them.
Kicking off your heels at the end of a long day brings immediate relief to tense feet and aching toes. But wearing heels for prolonged heels can have longer-term issues including bunions, calluses, hammertoes (a.k.a. bent toes), heel pain, and tingling numbness in the foot.
Tendon and Muscle Problems
If you’ve ever experienced swelling in your heel or tight calf muscles, beware! These symptoms are linked to Achilles tendonitis, caused by constant pressure placed on the heel. Muscle spasms and “high heel hangovers” are also exacerbated by prolonged wear.
These knobbly dark blue veins are a bit of an eye-sore, and they can also come with discomfort in the form of leg aches, ulcers and rashes.
“High heels change the natural walking motion, shifting the weight to the forefoot and causing the calf muscles to remain contracted,” says Brisbane Leg Vein Doctor Dr Nicholas Kemp. “This decreases the filling of the foot and calf veins and causes venous blood pooling.”
High heels can misalign foot muscles, which in turn can disrupt the alignment in the calves, hamstrings, hips, lower back and neck. Your whole posture could be placed under strain and you could experience backaches as well as foot and ankle pain.
Now, that all sounds mildly terrifying but there are many ways to maintain healthy feet and legs without giving up your high heels completely. Here are five tips to help you flaunt your favourite heels without fretting:
Roll it out
Roll a golf ball beneath your arch, heel and foot for five minutes each day for instant relief from foot tension. This practice will ensure that your feet are kept pain-free and flexible.
Lower, thicker heels
Aim for heels that are three inches or lower in height, and opt for a thicker heel for increased stability and support. Heels over three inches high can disrupt the biomechanics of your walk, straining the back and hips and affecting your posture
Take a stroll
Show your legs some love and boost your circulation by taking a walk every day. According to Dr Nicholas Kemp, “Going for a 30-minute walk each day will ensure that your calves are pumping blood back up the system. Your legs (and your waistline) will thank you.”
Flex and stretch
Get your feet flexing to strengthen them and improve the range of motion in your ankles. To start, try tracing the alphabet with your big toe, engaging only your ankle and foot.
Visit The Leg Vein Doctor
Put some spring back into your step by visiting Brisbane’s own varicose vein specialist, Dr Nicholas Kemp - The Leg Vein Doctor. His modern practice in Auchenflower offers a range of treatment options for varicose and spider veins, so you can get back to flaunting your flawless legs and feet! Dr Kemp’s advice? “Don’t worry! You don’t have to stop wearing heels altogether. But you should make an effort to stretch your calf muscles to ensure good blood flow, mix up your footwear and give your legs a break every so often!”