high heel shoes

HOW HEELS CAN FAIL YOU

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A gorgeous pair of heels can make a woman’s heart flutter with much excitement, especially when paired with the perfect dress. The confidence-boosting mechanism is remarkable. But enough with all the rainbows and positivity…what about all those times you were in so much pain from your shoes that all you wanted to do was chuck your heels across the street and crawl home?

Here I list FIVE SITUATIONS where heels can fail you miserably…

RUNNING FOR THE BUS

I wouldn’t classify myself as the fittest person out there but in saying that, I am highly capable of running from zone A to zone B in order to make my bus. Oh did I forget to mention that the prerequisite is that I need to be wearing flats or sneakers? Several times I tried to running after a bus in heels and the whole process was not only painful but also humiliating. I could feel all the eyes cast over to “that silly girl who’s running for the bus in heels”. Don’t be that person and don’t do that to your poor feet. You’re pretty much inviting a sprain or a fail – which has happened to me before too.

SHOPPING

Ladies, if you are shopping in heels…*picture me shaking my head*. ROOKIE ERROR. If you’ve planned for a big shopping day (which I hope you have, because who doesn’t love a shopping spree?), your feet are your best weapon towards shopping success. Happy comfortable feet = soaring energy and much fun! Tired, sore and painful feet will do nothing to elevate your mood. In fact it will just make you super grumpy thanks to all that discomfort and who knows what kind of shopping choices you’ll make in that head space…

STANDING EVENTS

If you know that you’ll be attending an event – be it for work or social – and that there will be a lot of standing, don’t test your feet’s limits by wearing high stilettos or pumps. Also avoid wearing heels you’ve just bought – hello blisters? If the occasion requires some sort of a heel for formality reasons, at least go for a reduced heel height and make sure you bring flats in your bag.

INTERNSHIPS

Let’s face it – most of the time internships or work experience jobs can be hard work. It may sound like a cliche but chances are you WILL be doing those coffee runs and errand jobs. I get that heels can make you feel a bit more glam and confident but think about the long-term consequences. Are you really going to be efficient in those heels? Switch to sensible shoes instead and be that star intern that’s not suffering from non-paid work AND foot pain.

AT UNIVERSITY

Wearing heels to uni is a big no-n0, especially if you are lucky enough to attend the University of New South Wales. Speaking from personal experience, let me just reinforce…heels and the UNSW stairs do not marry well together. Even without the stairs, getting around a university campus in heels is no easy feat. Uni is supposed to be a casual and relaxed environment – not a place to torture your feet unnecessarily!

Does any of the above situations sound familiar to you? Feel free to comment below and let me know your HIGH HEEL FAILS.

Otherwise join me in switching the heel to save our soles!

-JL

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

THE WORST HEELS FOR YOUR FEET

Paris Fashionweek ss2014 day 5, outside Chloé, Net-a-Porter Team

Most women are guilty of owning a handful of heels in their shoe closets – more often than not, half of that heel collection is uncomfortable and painful to walk in after a few hours.

There are various types of high heels on the market – whether you’re a skyscraper stiletto devotee or the pointy-toed pumps fan, are you aware of the harm these shoes are doing to your feet? However as with most cases, certain shoes are doing more harm to your feet than others. According to The Huffington Post and FeelingFit.com, the following are some of the worst offenders.

STILETTOS

Stilettos are probably the worst offenders out of the pack. Us women always have a love hate relationships with these heels – whilst they make us look ultra glam, they also kill our feet with stabbing pain. Super high stilettos causes us to move our weight to the balls of our feet. The increase in pressure can contribute to balance issues as it forces our knees and hips forward. This in turn can also hurt our back and legs. Wearing stilettos can make you prone to ankle sprains, fractures, bunions and hammertoes.

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POINTY-TOED PUMPS

Honestly it baffles me as to why women are willing to stuff their toes into such a confined space – all for the sake of fashion and vanity? Whilst these heels can be a beauty, they can also bring a lot of damage to your feet. Neuroma, which is an inflammation of the nerves between the toes is one such condition that can result from wearing pointy-toed pumps. When the nerve becomes inflamed, it can cause pain and a burning sensation for the wearer – you would then need to seek professional help to treat the condition. Ladies if you really are adamant about this option, at least consider switching to one that has a wider toe box. The last thing your feet needs is to be squeezed in an unnatural and totally uncomfortable shape/position.

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HIGH-HEELED BOOTS

Again – high heeled booties may be a gorgeous shoe accessory in the winter months however they can also present similar issues and concerns to stilettos such as hammertoes and bunions. The general rule of thumb is that 25% of your body weight gets increased for every inch you go in heel height. If you are deadset on wearing these, at least opt for a low-heeled option (preferably two inches or below) and look for quality material shoes so that you minimise risk for foot injuries and you add more stability to your walk and balance.

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PLATFORM WEDGES

Whilst wedges can carry great heel heights, they are generally regarded as a ‘woman’s best friend’ when it comes to heels. Why? Wedge heels have more cushion and provide more room for support and protection for the ball of your feet. As the heel platform is covered in its entirety, there is also a reduction in incline which can help with restoring balance. Nevertheless it is important to keep in mind that if you do choose a soaring high wedge heel, it can still result in accidental falls, ankle sprains, neuromas (benign nerve tumours), bunions and hammertoes.

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BACKLESS MULES

Backless shoes results in your toes gripping onto the shoe for support – hello hammertoes? On top of this, you’re more prone to developing nasties such as calluses or breaks in the skin as your shoe is constantly tapping the heel. Mules not looking so hot now are they?

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Which high-heeld shoe above is YOUR worst shoe offender?

-JL

THE PRICE OF WEARING HEELS

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Whether you’re a high heel devotee or the ocassional wearer of heels, there’s one common issue – most women aren’t truly aware of how heels are impacting your body. Sure they can be a fashionable choice and make you feel better but are you aware of what you’re sacrificing?

High heels can cause foot problems amongst other body issues and it can even exacerbate existing problems you already have. Here we give you the lowdown on the top five harmful effects of heels, according to FootHealth.com and AllWomansTalk

1) LOWER BACK PAIN

Heels generally are not designed for comfort purposes. They usually have less support for your feet and due to the height of a heel, there is constant pressure on the balls of your feet. As a result, this causes an imbalance in weight distribution, often resulting in lower back pain. This is especially the case if you’re constantly wearing heels for long periods of time. Your posture can also be affected due to the constant imbalance. Additionally, the higher the heels are, the more likely your lower back has to arch in order to keep an upright positioning. This can also contribute to back pain.

normal-and-high-heels-posture

2) SORENESS ALL AROUND

As mentioned above, when you’re wearing heels, you’re dumping most of your body weight on the balls of your feet. This followed by constant strain and walking can cause your feet to feel sore and in pain after a while. The thing is, the pain doesn’t just stop at the feet. Your calves are often affected too and before you know it, you’re going to bed acheing sore.

3) SPRAINS & FALLS

If you’re a fan of those ultra thin and soaring high stilettos AND you haven’t tripped or fell yet – note that you are very lucky. Uneven floors surround us all the time – think drainage grates, pot holes, cobblestone roads etc. These surfaces are just waiting to trap your point heels and cause mass destruction (and humiliation) to your most vulnerable body parts. Heels can cause your feet and ankles to move in a supinated (turned outward) position and this in turn, puts you at greater risk of losing your balance and spraining your ankles. Let’s face it, heels look pretty but a sprained or broken ankle is definitely not the look you’re after. In all honesty, heels can be seriously dangerous!

4) NASTY CORNS, BLISTERS AND CALLOUSES

When you wear a fresh pair of heels, you only see the good side first. It’s all glamourous and fun upon first impression. Fast forward five hours laters, that initial look has totally faded and once you slip out of the shoes, you’re greeted with unpleasant new friends aka. corns, callouses and blisters. Three things women who wear high heels are probably familiar with. We all hate them yet we often disregard the cause of the issue. Esentially these nasties appear when you squeeeze your feet into that narrow and pointed toe box that’s often present on many heels. After all, nothing rarely ever looks good after being trapped and squished in a confined space after hours?

5) HARM TO THE KNEE JOINTS

According to Joint Essential, one study conducted at Harvard University in 1998 concluded that the heels of the shoe can have a dramatic effect on the knee joint. As in the foot, the body’s weight is evenly distributed between the front and back portions of the knee when standing barefoot. Heels can essentially contribute to degenerative arthritis in the knee. Whilst this can occur to both women and men, wearing heels certainly doesn’t help. The higher the heel, the greater the impact is on the knee and other joints.


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Heels aren’t looking too glam now are they?

-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

How High Heels Hurt Your Body

There are some things in life that we all know are very bad for us – smoking, drugs, excess consumption of alcohol…etc. Then there are those things that we know are not so good for us but because we undermine its impact, we are reluctant to change our behaviour – e.g. lack of sleep, not exercising regularly or eating too much junk food. High heels unfortunately also belong to the latter group. The harm of wearing high heels barely crosses our minds but the truth is, while a pair of 10cm high stilettos can give you a boost of confidence and make your outfits look better…do you realise the toll it’s taking on your body?

Reading about health consequences from wearing high heels isn’t going to be the most exciting thing and would hardly appeal to the women readers I’m aiming for. As a result, I wanted to share this infographic from The Spine Health Institute from Florida Hospial Medical Group, which gives a quick summary of how high heels can affect and hurt your body, including your spine, hips, ankles, feet and also your posture and gait.

For those of you who insist on continuing with heels – at least read the last section on some tips to keep in mind so that you can reduce the negative effects of wearing high heels! Seriously ladies, it’s time to #SwitchTheHeel and #SaveYourSoles!

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The Spine Health Institute

-JL