How Long Do I Have to Keep These Damn Heels on?!

How Long Do I Have to Keep These Damn Heels on?!
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Stilettos, red carpet award shows, black tie events and women wondering, "How long do I have to keep these damn heels on!" That is every woman's battle cry. Do I want to look good or feel good? Women have had a love/hate relationship with their heels for as long as they have been wearing them. They are seduced by how great they make them look and struggle with how painful they can be when walking down the street or out for an evening of dinner and dancing.

However, no matter what designer you're wearing these days or whether you are wearing backless heels, peep toe heels, 6 inch stilettos or high heels the common denominator for all women is my feet are killing me in these things. Emma Thompson expressed how she felt about her heels when she walked on stage bare foot to accept her Golden Globe award with her Christian Louboutins in hand and then threw them over her back noting that the color red referred to the color of her feet when wearing those shoes. Ouch!

A recent article in FN SPY indicated that Lena Dunham wore a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for the New York premiere of her HBO show's third season and quickly set aside the heels during her introduction to the screening because she felt more comfortable.

According to an article that was published on The Huffington Post by Ellie Krupnick recently entitled, "It's OK To Hate Wearing High Heels (Just Take It From These Famous Women)", she states, "Quietly but assuredly, several famous women have been waging their own mini battles against high heels -- and winning. Here are eight women who are proving that being a woman doesn't have to mean loving high heels."

As a podiatrist, I understand the reasons why high heels can be so damaging to your feet; the question is do you?

The major reason your feet will hurt when wearing high heels are because of design issues of the shoe and the shape of your foot. Feet come in all varieties of shapes and sizes and shoes only come in sizes and widths. The designs as well as the shape of the foot are the trigger mechanisms. Add in variables such as abnormal foot biomechanics, structural misalignment of the bones and joints in the foot and "Bam!!"... high heels become "Satan shoes" according to Jennifer Lawrence. The pitch of the shoe can be too steep placing the ball of your foot directly on the floor of the shoe and throws your body out of balance. Tripping and falling can sometimes occur especially if one is wearing clothing that is restricting movement. The greater the pitch or angle the more pressure is felt on the ball of the foot which can cause a burning pain or metatarsalgia. Shoes that lack proper cushioning in the toe box accelerate this problem because of the thin leather outer-soles most shoes have. Arch cramps and muscle spasms are another problem that is a result of wearing high heels. The muscles in the arch of the foot fatigue when walking or standing because of the lack of arch support in high heels. If you have bunions, bone spurs, or hammertoe problems, high heels with a narrow toe box will place pressure on the tops and sides of the toes which causes blisters, corns and joint pain.

So does this mean, "Wear at your own risk should be printed on every shoe box"?

Since that will never happen there are ways to improve the comfort of your fashion footwear and not have to wonder "how long do I have to keep those damn shoes on?" There are many types of inexpensive arch support products, prefabricated orthotics and custom-made orthotics available to women today. They can be found through the Internet, stores that sell over-the-counter foot products and by medical professionals such as podiatrists. These products do not have to break the bank in order to make all the different styles of fashion footwear, high heels and stilettos more comfortable to wear. They will instantly support the arch, take pressure off the ball of the foot and reduce the pitch angle of the shoe. However, in order to make sure they fit properly in your shoes bring a pair with you when you're shopping for the supports because some products may be too bulky for the shoe. Adding a soft inner insole made of foam can also reduce burning pain on the ball of the foot.

So to Jennifer Lawrence and all the women who complain about how they hate wearing these dreaded "Satan shoes" do not despair -- you can! "And she walked happily ever after."

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