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Tips for Wearing Heels

22 January 2017

Tips for wearing heels

Women love heels. Heels can perfect an outfit, make you feel confident and, let's face it - some heels just look utterly fabulous. 

However, heels also usually result in aching feet and can cause back pain and other serious harm to your body.

Osteopath Claire Richardson says, “If you’re going to wear the heels, decrease the damage they cause.”

When it comes to wearing heels, here are six tips to be kinder to your body...

1. Opt for a shorter heel

Reduce the height of the heel to less than 5 cm. Claire says, "Smaller heels prevent too much of your body weight being placed directly over the ball of the foot. Any higher, and the centre of mass gets pushed forward over the toes, leading to stress on the lower back and hips."

Choose wedges over heels

2. Choose wedges

Use a wedge heel instead of a stiletto, as it promotes better balance and reduces stress on the underneath of the foot.

3. Avoid pointed-toe heels

Avoid pointed toes, as they compress the toes together and encourage bunion (unsightly and painful lumps on the side of the knuckle of the big toe) formation.

4. Exercise your calves

If you don’t want to suffer from achy feet and calf muscles after a full day in heels, make straight-legged calf raises your friend. Osteopath Bill Adamson suggests making it a habit each time you get home and kick off those pretty shoes of yours.

“Stand with your toes on a step, raise your heels up and very slowly lower your heels,” Bill says. “Lower them so they are below the level of your toes, allow the stretch for 10 seconds and then quickly rise up on your toes again before slowly lowering your heels below your toes again. Do this for 2-3 minutes each day and your back, feet and calves will thank you for it."

5. Change your weight distribution

To avoid being in pain so soon after putting heels on, change your weight distribution regularly. “Spend time with your weight on the right hip and then time on the left hip. Alternate your weight between the front of your foot and the back,” says Bill.

Give your feet a break

6. Take them off

If you have the opportunity to sit down for a longer period time, like at your work desk or dinner table, take your heels off and give your feet a break. According to osteopath Chris Reeves, doing this will relieve the pressure on your poor little feet and improve blood circulation.

Claire also suggests having a pair of supportive flat shoes tucked away in your handbag or office. 

“As a general rule, shoes should be supportive, with a slight lift underneath the arch of the foot, have a strap over the front of the ankle and around the heel, and have enough material in the sole to prevent distortion of shape, and protrusion of objects from underneath.”

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