High Heels, Huge Problems – How to Enjoy Your Shoes Without Harming Your Body

Posted July 31, 2013 by Kristen J. Zavo in Building Your Brand
Hello Lover!!

We all have our vices; one of mine is shoes. When I hear high-heels are dangerous for me, I admit – I would prefer to ignore the facts. But even if you aren’t ready to hear that those gorgeous Louboutins are putting too much pressure on your knees and undue stress on your back, at least think of the aesthetics. I’m talking the likes of bunions and hammertoes, which if left untreated could turn painful and require surgery.

So as much as it pains me to be the bearer of bad news, the infographic below provides a much needed reality check on how your favorite shoes can hurt your body. It is courtesy of the Spine Health Institute of the Florida Hospital Medical Group.

While I think we should be aware of the facts, I am not suggesting you resign yourself to a life of orthopedic shoes – just that you practice a little precaution and common sense. Here are my top five tips to take care of your feet while still enjoying your sling-backs, platforms and mary-janes!

#1 Buy the Right Size

No one else knows (or cares!) whether you are wearing a 7 or an 8! Do your shopping at the end of the day when your feet are at their most swollen. Think about whether you will be wearing hose or going barefoot (I find I need to go down half a size in my winter heels when I will be wearing tights), and whether they will stretch (leather) or have no give at all (patent leather).

For shoes that you’ve already bought, consider taking them to a cobbler where they can can actually stretch them for you, especially if they are too narrow.

#2 Rotate Heel Height – Wear A Different Pair Every Day

Save the super high stilettos for date night and power meetings. The rest of the time, alternate between 1 and 3 inch heels, even ballet flats. It will give your muscles and joints a break.

#3 Remember – Some Shoes Are Not  Made for Walking

Don’t walk long distances in your highest heels. When any major distance needs to be covered, do what we do in New York City – put on your flats or cute sneakers, and when you get close to your destination, duck in a corner and change shoes.

#4 Stretch Your Calves & Foot Muscles Daily

I like to hang my foot off the back of stairs or off the treadmill after working out. (See: 5 Most Effective Calf Stretches by FitDay) Also, if you’re toes have felt pinched, a few minutes in a pair of yoga toes or a knockoff feels really good.

#5 Get Regular Pedicures

It’s a must – more so for mental health and pampering than for foot health, but definitely a crucial part of taking care of your feet!

Bonus Tip

Take a class to learn proper form – no really, they exist! According to a recent Huffington Post article, such classes “promise to correct high-heel missteps by encouraging engaged abs, relaxed hips and knees and perfect posture.”


About the Author

Kristen J. Zavo

Kristen J. Zavo is a product development, strategy and innovation professional, with a special interest in the retail industry. Having always been interested in the people side of business, Kristen loves to explore, reflect on, and share stories about the challenges and adventures of being a businesswoman. No topic is off limits - whether it's how to handle being the only woman in the boardroom, or figuring out how to to pack all the "essentials" for a 2-week business trip in just a carry-on! Outside of work, she loves exploring new places, spending time at the beach and meeting friends to workout (spin or yoga, anyone?!).