health facts

TIPS TO HEALTHIER SOLES

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Heels are bad for you. A concept that most women understand but find it difficult to follow through with changes in their footwear choices. There is often a misconception that wearing low-heeled shoes is the same as wearing rocket-high stilettos – so why not just opt for the taller version that makes our legs look longer and confidence levels higher?

That is the wrong approach ladies!

As with many things, high heels come in all shapes and sizes. More importantly they come in various heel heights. If you are going to wear heels, then you should opt for ones that have a heel height of 5cm (2 inches) or lower. Any higher and you’re really contributing to amplifying the risks of foot problems.

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On top of HOW HIGH your heel is – another crucial aspect to keep in mind is HOW LONG you’re wearing them for. You may be wearing 5cm heels but if you do so for prolonged periods of time e.g. over 4 hours for more than 3 days a week – you are still doing irreversible damage to your entire body.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, 1 in 10 women wear high heels at least 3 days a week, and a third of them have fallen wearing them.

On top of falling, there are many other negative and unpleasant effects wearing heels can have on your body. These include:

  • Bunions
  • Back pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Plantar fascitis
  • Lower back problems
  • In-grown toe nails
  • Bad posture/balance
  • Damage to leg tendons
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Sore toes, ankles and calves

TIPS TO HEALTHIER SOLES

CHOOSE WISELY

Check the fit of the shoe to make sure it’s the right size for you and please don’t always go for those thin stilettos. Embrace lower heels that are 5cm or under or at least opt for shoes that have a wider base with room for your feet to breathe. Avoid shoes that forces your feet to squeeze tightly against each other or ones with lack of support as this can ruin the balance of your weight distribution.

MAKE THE SWITCH MORE OFTEN

Although lower heels are better than their taller counterparts, it’s still not the ideal footwear choice. Try saving heels for special occasions where there is minimal standing/walking and wear flats more often in your busy day-to-day life. If your job or situation requires you to wear heels often, try to find times during the day to slip them off to give your feet a break. Alternatively always bring a pair of flats in your bag for emergencies.

FIND SUPPORT

To all the high-heel lovers out there, invest in soft, insertable soles!  They can help with stability in ensuring your foot doesn’t slide forward constantly when you’re walking. They can also provide more cushion support which can add comfort to your walking.

-JL

SHOP SMART FOR HEELS THAT DON’T KILL

The task of convincing women to forgo heels completely is no easy feat and is probably an unrealistic objective. There’s no harm in wearing heels occasionally, provided that you choose options that minimises the discomfort and potential health risks.

Often women just seek for a little boost in their height (and confidence) when they’re shoe shopping for heels. Trying on a pair of high stilletos in store generates an instant feel-good moment but often doesn’t provide enough warning of the pain and suffering that could follow. The nightmare of blisters and foot pain generally starts AFTER your puchase.

It’s time to get smarter with your heel purchases! After all, you really don’t need to kill your soles just to look good. Keep the following things in mind the next time you’re heading off to a shoe shopping spree:

SIZE CHECK

Scenario: You walk into a store and there in the corner of your eyes, you see the shoe with your name plastered all over it. Your eyes light up with excitement as you walk towards it, ready to enfoce ownership. You eagerly ask the salesperson for a pair to try in your size. She returns empty-handed and that’s when you get that sinking feeling. Yes you have anticipated correctly – your size has sold out but ah…the salesperson indicates that the size below is still available. You squeeze your feet in and immediately you know that they’re a little too tight for your liking but because you love them so much, you decide to buy them anyway. After all, shoes stretch right?

WRONG. Never buy shoes (in particularly heels) that are too small for you. There is never a guarantee that they will stretch to accomodate your feet but one thing’s certain, they’re going to hurt! There should be a thumb’s width from the front of the inside of your shoe to the end of your longest toe. This tiny bit of thumb space is the ideal wiggle room for your foot so that it can move with ease inside the shoe, rather than forcing it to create friction against the sides.

CHOOSE WISELY

Scenario: You’ve read all the blog posts from Save Your Soles and despite acknowleding all the potential health risks of wearing high heels, you still insist on buying another pair of heels to add to your collection. Sigh…we tried!

No but seriously if you are thinking of sticking to heeled shoes, at least choose the ones that don’t result in a fast demise for your feet. The following options are generally better than your high single-soled stiletto killers and can help take some pressure off your feet:

  • Platforms
  • Chunky Heels
  • Wedges
  • Kitten Heels

GOOD TIMING MATTERS

Scenario: It’s a glorious Saturday morning and you decide to go shopping for some new shoes. You happily try them all on and purchase a couple to take home. In fact you love one pair so much that you start to wear them straight away. Fast forward 5 hours of walking…your feet starts to swell up and the foot pain/discomfort kicks in. What just happened?

Your foot generally expands a bit throughout the day and this is especially the case in summer. As a result, you should try to shop for shoes towards the end of the day as buying you shoes in the morning when your feet’s at its slimmest can result in that “oh-so-tight” feeling at the end of the day. Sometimes that extra high size up can make a huge difference.

What are your shoe shopping tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

-JL

THE TRUTH ABOUT HEELS

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Most women who wear heels are no stranger to the discomfort and pain that such shoes can bring but have you ever thought twice about the real damage it’s doing to your feet and body?

Ko and Lee (2013, p. 1309) suggests that high-heeled shoes can induce musculoskeletal diseases such as Plantar Fascilitis.

So what does this complicated medical term mean? According to The Hamilton Foot Clinic, Plantar Fasciitis is a condition characterised by a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of the foot.

As descirbed by PubMed Health, the plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar Fascitis occurs when this tissue becomes overstretched, swollen and inflamed – causing heel pain. Wearing ill-fitting shoes with poor arch support can increase the likelihood of Plantar Fascilitis – something that many high-heel wearers are unaware of.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, did you know that high heels can also cause another painful foot condition called Morton’s Neuroma?

As explained by The Hamilton Foot Clinic, neuroma affects the nerves between your toes, causing a stabbing sensation that is painful when you walk. Accordingly, women who wear high heels or narrow-fitting shows are usually more prone to neuroma. If you ignore these foot symptops, irregularities can occur that may hinder optimal foot function and aggravate the condition, such as high arches, overpronation and hypermobility.

If you experience such pain, it’s best to take off those heels and massage the affected area as this can help to alleviate pain. If your condition is a bit more severe, it’s best to seek professional care from a qualified podiatrist of foot-care specialist as they may recommend long-term solutions and tips.

However there is also an easier way to prevent all of this from potentially happening…#SwitchTheHeel and #SaveYourSoles. It’s that easy.

-JL