When most people think of foot orthotics, they think of putting them in running shoes or everyday shoes like loafers. But what about high heels?
Should you be wearing foot orthotics when you wear shoes that are meant to make you appear one, two, or even four inches taller than you really are? The answer is yes, and foot orthotics are perhaps even more important than ever when wearing this particular style of shoes.
How high heels can negatively affect your feet
While high heels can be stylish and fun, they can also do some serious damage to your feet. Podiatrist Stuart Mogul, DPM, reported to WebMD that heels tend to be restrictive on your feet, smashing your toes while putting the weight of your body on them at the same time, which makes them twice as harmful.1
Here are just a few of the most common issues for high heel wearers:
- Bunions, which is when the bone protrudes at the base of your big toe
- Calluses, or a thickened, hardened piece of skin that occurs due to continued friction
- Corns, which can be hard or soft
- Hammertoe, when your toe or toes become permanently bent downward
The connection between heels and pressure
According to the Spine Health Institute, not only do high heels have the potential of affecting your spine (due to constantly trying to balance yourself), but the size of the heel also determines the amount of pressure you’re going to feel on the balls of your feet.
For instance, a one-inch heel increases the weight on your forefoot by 22 percent. A two-inch heel takes that percentage up even more, resulting in 57 percent of your weight being carried on the small frontal portion of your foot. And for you ladies that like three-inch heels or higher, you’re putting upwards of 76 percent more pressure on the balls of your feet.
So, what is the solution if you absolutely refuse to give up this style of footwear? Get foot orthotics for your high heels and wear them regularly.
Foot orthotics with high heels
Wearing foot orthotics with your high heels gives the bottom of your feet more padding, which is one area where heels normally lack. In fact, if you go to most footwear stores and search their selection of cute heels, you’ll likely see that many offer no support whatsoever, which is part of the problem.
Some other things that may help reduce the damage to your feet include limiting your time in heels, staying away from heels higher than two inches, taking more comfortable shoes to slip into when you are at your desk or otherwise able to sit down, and skipping a pointed toe.
Even though high heels aren’t the best for you, it doesn’t mean that you have to sell your collection in order to have healthy feet. Just follow these recommendations and your feet (and knees, back, and hips) will likely feel better as a result.
1 Bouchez, C. “Tips to avoid foot pain from high heels.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/women/features/tips-to-avoid-foot-pain-from-high-heels. Reviewed February 2009. Accessed January 2015.
2 Spine Health Institute. “How high heels affect your body.” Florida Hospital Medical Group. http://www.thespinehealthinstitute.com/news-room/health-blog/how-high-heels-affect-your-body. Accessed January 2015.