Women love their high heels, so much so they are willing to endure all sorts of foot pain to wear them. Some people undergo foot surgery to continue wearing heels. High heel-caused foot pain (aka high heel hangover) can interfere with your active life. The best way to combat the high heel hangover, besides not wearing heels, is to prepare by getting your feet "high heel ready."
It's important to recognize that walking in high heels itself is unnatural. Over time, the body responds with three distinct physiologic changes. They are: 1) tightness in the calf muscle, 2) weakness of the toes and 3) ankle instability. Over time, structural foot changes (bunions, hammer toes, and arch collapse) may occur. If you are unclear as to what a bunion is or how severe they can become, read my previous HuffPost bunion blog and see the bunion severity scale.
Below is an easy program that I developed in collaboration with personal trainer Jay Lee (Tier III+, Equinox NYC 17th Street), specifically aimed at counteracting the effects of high heels. These three exercises can be performed in the gym or at home.
- Barefoot Squats: Squats in general are well-known to be an excellent way to strengthen the core and legs. Performing barefoot squats specially targets the foot by recruiting the small muscles of the toes to engage the ground. High heels specifically weaken the muscles of the foot, and barefoot squats will strengthen those muscles. Body weight squats will suffice, as the goal is to activate the foot. Focus should be on grabbing the floor with the toes on each rise.
As a reconstructive foot surgeon in Manhattan, I see many high heel-created foot problems that go on to surgery. Bunionplasty from high heels are common. I can tell you that getting your feet strong is the first step at putting off or preventing a high heel foot makeover.
If you decide to wear heels, get your feet high heel ready.
-- Dr. Blitz, New York City
To learn more about Dr. Neal Blitz, please visit www.BunionSurgeryNY.com.
For more by Neal M. Blitz, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., click here.
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