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Tips for returning to high heels after #isolyf

Let’s face it… if you’ve been in lockdown and mostly working from home, like us, you’ve probably been alternating between gym shoes and ugg boots, while the high heels in the wardrobe are collecting dust.

We acknowledge that not everyone is like us here at Lightfeet HQ (#sneakeraddicts). So if you’re thinking it’s time to dust off those summer wedges, we have some tips to help ease you back into heel wearing.

Alternate heel heights throughout the week.
Try to mix it up and switch shoes throughout the day so you’re not in high heels all day long. That way, your feet aren’t always forced into the same angle day in and day out.

Wear commuter shoes whenever you can.
It might go against your fashion sense when you’ve put in so much effort perfecting your outfit, but your feet will thank you later. The sooner you adopt this habit the better! As much as possible wear shoes with a shock-absorbing sole, have the best arch support, and wait to change into your heels at your destination.

Pump in moderation.
The short and long story is, high heels aren’t good for your feet. So if you must, we recommend using in moderation! Massage and stretch your legs at the end of the day. The Achilles tendons and calf muscles can get really tight, so doing calf stretches and massages helps undo that. Downward dog or a runner’s calf stretch against the wall will suffice. If you have a pinched nerve or other pain in your toes, massage in between the thin bones to open up space, promote circulation and calm everything down. Simply spreading and stretching your toes apart will help, too.

If you’re undecided about dusting off your high heels, the Lightfeet podiatrist’s, Dan and Graeme, have some other insights into heel wearing that might just make you think twice.

  • Chances of a sprained ankle are significantly higher.
  • With overuse, the fat pad on the bottom of the foot becomes thinner over time – and when you lose this natural cushioning on your foot you can experience pain called metatarsalgia.
  • You are more likely to strain muscles in your feet and ankles, leading to tendonitis.
  • Extra weight and pressure on the front of the foot can cause a stress fracture or pinched nerves on the ball of the foot. This kind of overuse can result in heel spurs (a calcium buildup on the bone), arthritis, and heel pain, as well.
  • Because your foot is elevated and the weight goes forward, a lot of tension gets taken off the Achilles tendon and it shortens over time. If you’ve been wearing heels day in day out you might find that you actually don’t feel good in flat shoes anymore, this is because the tendons have become so tight from overuse that it’s uncomfortable when they’re stretched to their original length.
  • The pressure your toes experience being pressed forward can lead to hammertoes (when the toe becomes bent downward permanently), bunions (a swollen, bony bump that forms on the side of the big toe), and ingrown toenails.
  • Finally, the higher the heel, the more weight and pressure is shifted forward. Your knees and hips then have to push forward and your back has to hyperextend backwards to counterbalance. This can translate to leg, hip, and back pain, misaligning the whole skeleton.

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