Taking good care of your feet is essential for a busy lifestyle. Have you have ever wondered about the impact the height of your heels might be having on your feet? We know that eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep are essential to our well being.
You may be surprised to discover the ways your choice of heel height can affect your health. Fortunately, there is plenty of research available to help you select the best options. Maintaining good health is among our top priorities. Balancing this with looking and feeling good is key for most of us.
Selecting your shoes
Take a look at the shoes in your closet. Are they mostly low, medium or high? Which do you wear most? Do your feet feel fine when you get home, or can you hardly wait to kick your shoes off and get into some cosy slippers?
Perhaps you’ve selected your outfit for a special occasion. The only thing left is the shoes. Then comes that age-old dilemma, beauty or comfort? Well most women understandably want both, and here we’re exploring the impact of the height of your heels on your health. To help you choose whether it’s ballet flats, a kitten heel or lofty stilettos.
It will come as no surprise to learn that high heels are simply not great for your feet. Heels are stressful to the foot and body, and can affect your balance and muscle strength.
Heel height and foot
Heel height can dramatically effect the shape and functioning of the foot. Walking in heels can have an impact on the body all the way up to the spine. Studies have revealed differences in the feet and ankles of women who typically wear heels compared with those of women who tend to wear flats.
Although muscle strength around the ankles can initially be improved after wearing high heels over a sustained period, this can actually reverse over time due to an imbalance in muscle use. Women wishing to wear heels extensively are advised to do exercises whenever possible to counteract this affect.
Heel lifts are recommended, where you continuously rise up onto your toes in your bare feet. Heel drops are also advised, where you stand on the edge of a step and slowly drop your heel over the edge.
So there’s a strong argument for recuperative treatment. Wearing high heels actually tightens foot and calf muscles. After a night in heels, you could try rolling a golf ball under your feet, calf stretches and spreading your toes. This sort of recovery can improve the way your feet feel the next time you slip on your heels too.
Healthiest heel height
So don’t worry, you don’t need to throw out your beloved high heels. It’s about finding the healthiest heel height for your feet. It may come as a surprise, but if a shoe is too flat, this can also present problems. If your foot is flat – as in low arches, a completely flat shoe won’t be the best option for you. A small heel such as one inch – will provide needed stability.
The recommendation is to not exceed a heel height of three inches. Anything more than this and you’re increasing the pressure and tension placed on the feet, knees and lower back. If you simply must wear four inch heels (or higher), pack a pair of flats for the end of the night!
You shouldn’t have to pay for shoes that you love with blisters, numb toes, calluses, back pain and more. Basically, you shouldn’t have to suffer for style. Wouldn’t it be nice to end the evening with the same spring in your step (well, almost) as when you left?
Things to bear in mind as well as heel height are how long they’ll be worn and how far you’re planning to walk in them. In heels, body weight is shifted onto the balls of the feet and toes – not good. Listen to your feet. When they start to hurt it’s time to kick those heels off if you can. For standing or walking, try not to wear heels for more than two hours at a a time.
When choosing heels, look for cushioning. Also, a platform will help if the heel height is over three inches.
You can also opt for a more rounded shoe front. The wider the toe box, the less pressure the heel places on the toes. A block heel will provide more stability, as a narrower heel means you have to balance more. That means more work for the calf muscles, which can be tiring.
Your posture can actually influence the degree of pressure on your feet. When standing in high heels, try to keep your shoulders back, tummy pulled in, and pelvis tucked under slightly. Attempting to hold yourself like this lifts the body, resisting gravity.
So what’s your preference?
Maybe you like the way heels elongate your legs and accent shapely calves. Or maybe for you nothing beats the comfort and convenience of flats.
Although there are factors that apply to everybody, your ideal heel height consists of several factors, and depends on the structure of your feet. The height of your heels does have an impact on your health, so it’s important to choose wisely and think carefully when buying your next pair of shoes.
How long will you spend wearing them? Are they comfortable? Can you walk in them without noticeable effort? The way you wear your shoes can make a difference to your health.
Choosing a particular heel height can only go so far, although it’s a great place to start. There are other options that you might want to try if you want to enjoy the best possible health for your feet.
So along with choosing a suitable heel height and considering a style that delivers support and comfort, you should also take a look at incorporating foot exercises into your lifestyle. The way you treat your feet can make a difference to the vitality of your body as you age.
So following the simple guidelines should keep your feet sprightly and serving you for a lifetime.