High Heels and…Foot Pain

It is no secret that men like women in a sexy pair of heels. Numerous studies have shown that high heels enhance a woman’s femininity by altering the way she walks. Her curves are emphasized; her legs appear to be longer. A study conducted at the University of Portsmouth found out that women are perceived more attractive by males and females when they wear high heels.

We ladies love wearing heels because it makes us feel confident, we feel more attractive – not only for the opposite sex but also for ourselves and, if we are completely honest, also to compete with other ladies out there.

Apparently women own an average of 17 pair of shoes (as you can read here). I myself own a lot more than just 17 pair, 15 of them have a heel of at least 3 inches. It’s just one of my guilty pleasures.

However, being more attractive comes with a price:


Just kidding. But consider this:

Wrong footwear can result in foot problems such as plantar fasciitis

I’m working in an office and meet important clients all day. I have to look my best all the time. Nice shoes are part of my outfit and also most of my days require me to wear heels. Every teenage girl gets told by her parents that flat shoes are always the better option and that high heels will cause damage to your feet sooner or later. Of course it’s true and every woman knows about this. Still, we tend to ignore it just for the sake of being more attractive (and we are also bound by society, of course). But who would blame us? Who doesn’t want to look their best? However, plantar fasciitis is just one of the many (bad) injuries you might experience when wearing heels for longer periods of time.

For those of you who are lucky and never had plantar fasciitis, here’s a definition for you:

“Plantar fasciitis is most frequently an acute or semi-acut injury and appears as a strain or partial rupture of the sturdy ligament that courses from the heel to the ball of the foot. Pain is in the middle of the heel, extending forward. The plantar fascia is a firm band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot which is often called a ligament. It functions in maintaining the inside or medial arch.” (Reference)

However, it’s not only high heeled shoes that can cause problems. Also flats without any heel can cause damage. Ballet flats, for example, don’t provide any cushioning and if the muscles in your feet are already weak, walking barefoot and in flats is acutally worse than wearing a regular pair of sneakers. My advice is, if you already suffered from foot related problems such as high arches or flat feet, try to reduce the pressure on your heels and gradually strengthen your feet (Take a look at my post about plantar fasciitis shoes for more information.)

For some women the thought of not wearing heels hurts more than knowing that there is a chance of foot injury – until they actually experience it. It was the same for me until I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis for the very first time. I had to do stretches and exercises for months and I was lucky that I fully recovered. It taught me to think long-term. We have to take care of our feet and our health, and for that it’s worth it to slip into a pair of cool sneakers once in a while and just be more casual.

No more Flip Flops!

I found a good infographic about the impact of flip flops on your foot health published by HuffingtonPost (see below).

It is no secret that the kind of shoes we wear influence how prone we are to experiencing certain foot injuries or inflammations such as plantar fasciitis. If you are interested in that topic, I recommend taking a look at my detailed article with reviews of the best plantar fasciitis shoes that help to stabilize your feet and reduce your heel pain.

Plantar Fasciitis Flip Flops
Infographic by HuffingtonPost.

(Source: mediagrams)

Find the right Footwear for Plantar Fasciitis

When walking into a shoe store the sheer amount of different types of shoes can be quite overwhelming. You’re in pain and all you wished for is just a pair that will give you relief, am I right?

running shoe for plantar fasciitis

The following 8 short guidelines are meant to help you making the right choice for healthy feet! So let’s get right into it!

  1. The shoe size must fit comfortably at the end of the day (feet are slightly bigger at the end of the day).
  2. Choose the right model for your foot type. Ask your podiatrist. He or she will be able to inform you about your foot type (meaning if you are a supinator, a pronator or neutral)
  3. Shoes should have a low heel. Prefer open toe shoes for a much better comfortable fit.
  4. Use motion control athletic shoe which won’t bend or twist readily in the middle and will bend in the toes where the foot bends.
  5. Prefer shoes with cushioned, flexible midsoles that absorb the impact of your walking or running.
  6. Wear a shoe with a solid heel cup to keep your heel steady while you walk. There should be a firm hold of the shoe to your heel. Your heel should not move inside the shoe as you walk or run. Shoes should be replaced by you regularly whenever they can be worn out to ensure the maximum shock absorption.
  7. A good pair should have soles that are shock absorbing, (chose rubber over leather)
  8. You don’t necessarily pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to get the best plantar fasciitis shoes.

The right shoes for you won’t cause pain after wearing them for a long time. You should not feel uncomfortable with your shoes but keep in mind that you are searching for both comfort and support. Sometimes themost shoe that is comfortable is not the best shoe for you. 

A good pair of shoes is a very important part of the treatment but that is not enough. Your shoes is not going to solve the issue. You should go on looking for more treatment and self-attention techniques. Be patient and consistent relief will follow.

I think I have Plantar Fasciitis. Can I go jogging?

I would suggest cutting speed work out for a while as it is the number one trigger for Plantar Fasciitis. Slow jogging will not hurt it will help keep your feet strong. This is necessary because the scar tissue will prevent it completely. Icing can reduce inflammation which also supports healing. Another significant piece of the healing would be to discharge stress on the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is interconnected with a complete system that makes your foot and leg stretch. The calf is a significant part this, and if your calves are tight then you may have high stress. Stretching the calf gently several times a day will help alleviate strain. It is also possible to make the plantar fascia itself more elastic by gradually stretching your toes up or rolling your foot on a tennis/golf ball. Also make sure to wear good shoes for plantar fasciitis as they provide extra support for your arch.

One last choice that will help is the Strassburg sock or a night splint. Most of us sleep with our feet which gives a lot of slack to the plantar fascia and it shrinks overnight. We take our first step with the foot cold, and it puts enough stress on the fascia to cause more micro-tears. These devices keep the foot flexed which prevents this situation.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common source of heel pain, specifically in runners or other people who must be on their feet for long periods of time. It is relatively easy to be rid of, once plantar fasciitis sets in. With arch support and the proper exercises, particularly a change of shoes, plantar fasciitis can evaporate just as abruptly as it set in.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue connecting the heel to the toe and running along the underside of your foot becomes inflamed. Usually, the band of the plantar fascia, or tissue, acts as a shock absorber for the foot with every step. The tissue is under undue tension or becomes overstressed, the tissue swell and will tear. Obesity, level-footedness, certain kinds of exercise for example dancing or running, long intervals or standing or walking time, and improper shoes can cause anxiety or stress.

A telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the arch or heel. The pain generally subsides, your foot limbers up. But without treatment or attention, the pain will only grow worse and could cause other foot, knee, hip or back problems, finally altering the way that you walk.

Footwear for Plantar Fasciitis

Your shoes play a vital function as it pertains to plantar fasciitis. Open-toed shoes such as sandals or flip flops, high heels, or any shoe without arch support can bring to much of the tension on your own feet, particularly if worn at all times. To lessen the danger of plantar fasciitis, wear shoes with proper arch support. They’re going to survive longer and be more forgiving in your feet, although they generally have a tendency to be much more expensive. The finest and most comfy plantar fasciitis shoes are running shoes that are straightforward, although these have a tendency to lose their support after a while and will have to be replaced.

If you must wear shoes which are not irregular or you just do not like the appearance of arched shoes, you can get an over-the-counter arch insert or drugstore. They will generally help keep you and relieve the tension.

Very informative article! If you want to cure plantar fasciitis it is essential to first understand the anatomy of your foot and the real cause of the problem. 

(Source: thegaitguys)