Wearing heels tilts us slightly forward, causing us to tuck our tummies in, stand straighter, and exude more confidence. They come in such gorgeous styles too! Deputy editor of MEGA Magazine Meryll Yan believes that a good pair of heels is the equivalent of a power suit. “I think that heels make you look longer and help to straighten out your back. They sure are a great confidence boost!”
But how can something that looks so good be bad for you?
Are heels hazardous to your health?
You probably already know that ill-fitting shoes, and particularly heels, can cause blisters, bunions, and calluses, as well as leg cramps and back pain. But did you know that suffering for fashion can be hazardous to your health?
Some footwear-related conditions treated by St. Luke’s Medical Center at Bonifacio Global City include: ankle sprain, ankle/foot tendinitis, metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, and lumbosacral strain. Seriously?? Rehabilitation Medicine specialist, Victoria M. Morales, MD of St. Luke's Medical Center-Global City shares, “If an individual experiences feet discomfort, the normal response of the body is to adjust to ease the pain and adjust gait pattern. However, in the process, this may cause strain/stress to other parts of the body.” No wonder when our feet hurt, it seems our entire body aches, too.
But wait, there’s more. “High-heeled shoes with inadequate arch support in particular may cause shortening of calf muscles and achilles tendon leading to ankle instability.” And when the heels are impossibly high? “The back or spine tries to adjust to maintain upright position; however, too much stress to back may lead to back pain.”
Finding Your Sole Mate
If you must wear heels, at least choose those that don’t put your health in peril. Here are some tips when going on your next shoe shopping expedition:
1. Dr. Morales advises, “Ideally, shoes must have good cushion (good arch support), must be of good quality, provide stability and must be comfortable.”
2. “One must FIT the shoes. Recommended time is in the afternoon when feet are swollen to the largest. Size may vary a little depending on shoe style,” says the good doctor. When trying on shoes, walk around in them for several minutes to make sure they don’t pinch your toes, the straps don’t dig into your skin, and you’re not sliding forward.
3. Choose shoes with solid heels for better support—instead of skinny stilettos, go for polished pumps with stacked heels, or try wedges (an excuse to buy those popular sneaker wedges!).
4. Find the perfect height for you—one which allows you to walk as comfortably as possible (not like a robot), and doesn’t put too much pressure on your feet. Yan says, “I've since learned that kitten heels are the worst for me. Extremes are better—either super high or completely flat.”
5. Pointy-toe stilettos are all the rage now, but when too-narrow shoes are worn too often, it may pinch your feet and cause hammertoes (a deformity that causes toes to be permanently bent) or even “patay na kuko”! Solution: Wear your killer pointy-toe heels only for short periods of time on special occasions.
6. When sky-high heels arch impossibly and don’t provide proper cushioning, the toes and balls of your feet work overtime to grip the soles. Add support of your own by applying foot pads (get them at select beauty shops and drugstores).
Be Sweet To Your Feet
Danced in those twin towers of terror all night? Kick them off the minute you get home and put your feet up! Prop them on pillows or put them up against the wall, helping the blood circulate and prevent varicose and spider veins.
Yan has an interesting tip to treating her feet: “I practice yoga and I realize that it's excellent as a counter-therapy or counter-exercise for overworked feet. A nice foot massage...also works wonders!”