All heels are not equal. So, if you're wondering how to make high heels more comfortable, first consider: the height of your heel, not the shape of the shoe (or the fact that it's a heel), it's probably what's behind your pain.
Meredith Leigh Ward, DPM, foot specialist at Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists in Asheville, North Carolina, says most of the pain associated with the high heels she sees walk into her office can be traced back to sky-high shoes.
Why? "A heel higher than two inches or more puts enormous pressure on the metatarsals, which are the bones behind the toes," she says.
And that pressure is not only unpleasant, but can also cause inflammation, pain, stress fractures or even pinched nerves, she notes.
But you do not have to swear off high heels completely. It is possible to make high heels more comfortable. Just pay attention to the height you're getting. "Two inches is my limit," says Ward. "A heel below this height does not significantly increase the metatarsal, because the weight can remain distributed between the heel and forefoot." It also helps you maintain your balance in your kicks, she says.
What happens if your feet hurt, even if you are not so high on the ground? Consider adding a pad to the forefoot of your heels or placing a full insole in your favorite pair. Try to remove your heels when you can, too (on your desk, for example).
To fight off the most unpleasant disasters associated with new shoes for a low-heeled shoe with an ankle strap, suggests Ward. A strap not only secures your foot, improving stability, but it reduces the friction that can tear your skin.
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