If you’re worried about the damage wearing high heels may be causing to your body, the best thing to do is stop wearing heels as often as possible in favour of flat-soled shoes.
If you absolutely must wear high heels, the American Osteopathic Association recommends the following stretches and strengthening exercises which you can do to help prevent the damage these shoes cause.
Aim to stretch before and after long periods of wearing heels and throughout your day.
1.The plantar fascia stretch
While standing, place the ball of your right foot on a thick book or small step with your heel on the ground. Lean forward slightly and hold for a few seconds then switch to the other side. Gradually increase the height of the book/step weekly.
2. Heel walking
Try walking around on your heels with your toes pointed upwards for as long as you can a few times a day. This will help stretch out the calf muscle and strengthen the Achilles tendon.
3. Tap the toes
Do this one at home or behind your desk, sit with your bare feet flat on the floor and raise them up, keeping the heel on the floor and tap the foot up and down, as if to music. This will stretch and strengthen the muscles in the sole of the foot and stretch the ankle.
4. Heel raises
Stretch the Achilles tendon and strengthen the calf muscles with heel raises by standing either on a flat surface or with your heels slightly hanging over a step and then raise up onto your toes and slowly lower back down either to the ground or drop the heels below the step.
Tips for choosing better high heels
If wearing high heels is an unavoidable part of your life, aim to choose shoes which will cause the least damage:
1. Go for a platform sole which will decrease the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot, and evenly distribute your weight across the whole foot.
2. A thicker heel will also give the ankle a bit more stability in the heel.
3. Avoid narrow pointy shoes which squeeze toes – make sure they give you generous space for your foot.
4. Fit the shoes properly to make sure they fit comfortably and hold the foot securely in place. Loose shoes can lead to blisters, bleeding and torn toenails.
The SpineAlign Team