- Cloud Massage Brand Team
There's an old French saying, "il faut souffrir pour être belle"—one must suffer for beauty. No matter the pain, women love their high heels, no matter the resulting foot damage. And although women don't wear heels to the office much anymore, considering the office is generally in the dining room, they still slide on sexy stilettos for a night on the town—when dancing till dawn certainly takes a toll on your feet, ankles, and legs.
An Atlanta group of orthopedists conducted a study that discovered over half of the women surveyed had foot or toe pain from wearing heels. Another study, by the American Podiatric Medical Association, had 71% of the respondents say that their high heels made their feet hurt.
How to Avoid Injuries from Wearing High Heels
Let's stipulate that you're going to wear heels, even though they're not always the best for your feet.. But remember, our little french saying, beauty is pain? Let’s not forget, there are some of us who simply enjoy the feel and look of sliding on a fabulous new pair of high heels. Here are some tips to alleviate pain from high heel foot damage:
- Choose the right fit. This sounds like a given, but often one of the main causes of high heel foot pain! The wrong heel size can cause you to slip, blister, and puts too much pressure on your toes.
- Wear athletic shoes for walking. If you’re commuting to the office, pack your heels and make the commute in comfortable kicks. Every city veteran knows this.
- Choose a lower or thicker heel. This helps distribute the pressure of your weight on your feet. Wedges are trendy and offer a broader base of support, and open-toed shoes relieve pressure on your toes too.
- Invest in orthotic inserts. Typically recommended to you by your doctor and an affordable solution. Placing insoles in your high heels will make them more comfortable, reduce blisters, slipping and other high heel foot damages.
- Massage for foot pain. Who doesn’t love a massage? Not only does a foot massage feel good after strutting your favorite stilettos, it’ll ease high heel pain. A shiatsu foot massager might be exactly what you’re looking for in this case!
If you're wondering what causes all those bumps and aches in your feet, chances are good it's your high heels. These are some of the common foot injuries from wearing high heels:
1. Corns and calluses. These are hard, rough skin accumulations on the soles of your feet or the sides of your toes that can be quite painful, and you need a podiatrist to cut the corn away safely.
2. Bunions. A bunion develops at the joint of your big toe and your foot from the pressure from the heel angle. If you don't repair the bunion, your big toe can turn over on top of your other toes. It's not a great look.
3. Plantar fasciitis. The pressure that heels put on your feet can cause this burning sensation or ache on the bottom of your feet. Arch supports can help with the pain, but ice and foot massage are the best remedies for plantar fasciitis. Hand-held percussion massage guns are the latest in the PF treatment. These deep-tissue guns help you target specific areas, like the soles of your feet, and are a huge help in relaxing the tendons that contribute to plantar fasciitis.
4. Morton's Neuroma. High heels may cause nerve damage, neuroma, on the ball of your foot. A sharp, burning pain, numbness, or tingling or stinging in your toes or the ball of your foot is a sign of Morton's neuroma.
How High Heels Impact Foot Muscles
The first step in managing the foot and leg pain that comes from wearing heels is to have a general idea of the musculoskeletal structure of your feet and calves. Your Achilles tendon runs from your heel bone to your calf muscle. When you wear heels, that muscle shortens and tightens over time. The dictates of fashion often require a narrow toe box, which puts pressure on your toes. As if that weren't enough, the height of the heel puts your feet at an unnatural angle, causing pain on the balls of your feet. And since there's a dense network of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that hold this delicate structure together, high heel pain is seldom confined to one part of your foot—it radiates all over, and all the way up your leg in severe cases.
Tips to Help Recover From High Heel Pain
You can ease your aching feet with some old-fashioned home remedies, and a few new high-tech options.
- Epsom salts aren't actually salt; rather it's a combination of natural minerals like magnesium and sulfate that's absorbed through the skin when you soak in it. Magnesium is a sort of magical mineral that builds and repairs damaged tissue when the blood vessels dilate and open your pores for better absorption.
- Continue your foot pampering with a pedicure to smooth out calluses, and make sure your toenails are cut properly—also a good ped will get rid of any ingrown toenails, which will give you an immediate ahh factor. Moisturizing your feet so that they stay smooth and supple helps you avoid developing calluses and other rough spots that can turn into problem areas if you wear high heels without proper foot care.
Try At-Home Foot Massage for High Heel Relief. It's just not practical to schedule a massage every time you wear your killer heels, so consider an at-home foot massager, like a Shiatsu Foot and Leg Massager that gently kneads away the pain in your feet and ankles. With adjustable heat, compression, and intensity, you can soothe your feet every time you kick off your heels. When you add regular massage into your foot care regimen, you can dance the night away and look forward to tomorrow.
Exercises to Relieve High Heel Foot Damage
Foot yoga to relieve high heel pain.
Yoga is great for your whole body, but your feet can really benefit from some simple stretching and poses. A downward dog pose helps stretch out your calves and Achilles tendon. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, and repeat until you can feel the tendons are loosened up.
A Virsana hero pose is also a good high-heel recovery therapy. Since you're seated with your calves facing outward, this pose should be comfortable as it stretches your thighs, knees, feet, and ankles, as well as relieves tiredness in your legs. Hero poses also help with circulation, which helps any swelling go down.
Add in some range of motion exercises.
Moving your feet and legs also helps get your circulation going, which in turn relieves pain and swelling.
Yoga band stretch—wrap a yoga band around one foot and extend your leg. Pull your toes back and your foot up, keeping your leg straight, and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Switch to the other leg and repeat the stretch. You can also do a little foot therapy while you're wearing heels. Simply balance on one foot (ok, maybe easier said than done, you can also do this seated) and move one foot up and down, and in circles in both directions, to get the circulation going again.
Deep tissue massage
When you're really serious about your high heels and your foot recovery, deep tissue massage will deliver the therapeutic benefits that massage is known for. A deep massage of the feet helps realign the muscles in the arches of your feet and stabilizes your toes for improved blood flow. Massage may also help with the puffiness that's part of high heel pain and injury; the rhythmic motions may help with lymphatic edema.