By Nicole Teh
Normally, your fully functioning well looked after feet serve as a cushion to your skeleton from crazy amounts of pounding.
But cram them into a towering pair of Prada heels for 8 hours and you’ll get a serving of high pain along with that high fashion.
Your heel-to-toe transition becomes abrupt, forcing you to swap your natural stride for a staccato walk – ah yes, we all know the one. And strutting like this constantly could usher in bone and nerve damage, shortened muscle fibres in the calf muscles, hip and spine impact, because your leg mechanic is abnormal. And as for those spider veins? Not hot.
You’ve heard it so many times, the effects of high-heeled shoes on our health, but not ready to give them up?
We hear ya.
Believe us when we say we understand that desire to look like you have longer, sleeker legs, the sexy stance, and the confidence boost that comes with it. If you secretly feel badly and you’re always out searching for ways to minimize the impact of wearing these beauties we love to hate, but at the same time not quite willing or ready to don the cushioned flats just yet – you’re not alone.
So, fellow high-heel devotees, listen up! Here are your podiatrist’s orders…
Calf stretch: Standing about a foot from a wall, extend one leg behind you, keeping both feet flat on the floor. Point toes toward wall and keep rear knee straight. Move your hips forward, keeping lower back flat. Lean into the wall until you feel tension in the calf muscle of the extended leg.
Achilles stretch: If you’re a regular heel wearer, then switching abruptly from heels to flats can cause Achilles tendonitis—when your Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscle to the heel, becomes inflamed. Make sure you keep your Achilles tendon happy with a few strengthening stretches, like this one: stand on a step or curb with your heels hanging off, and rise up and down on your toes moving slowly.
Lower Back Stretch: Lie on your back and spread your arms wide on either side of your body, forming a T shape. Bend your right knee and use your left hand to pull it over the left leg, keeping the upper body flat. Do it on both sides.
Toe Crunches: Curl your toes under as tight as you can, exhale spreading the toes as far apart as you can to strengthen the small inches of muscles of your toes (repeat x10
Elastic band Toe Stretch: Place the band on either side of the big toe, separating the feet to feel resistance against the toes. Stand up nice and tall, again separating the feet to feel resistance. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. This is excellent stretch after spending hours in your stilettos
Alphabet foot: Stand barefoot, balancing on your right foot. Relax this foot and maintain contact with your big toe, little toe and heel while you “air draw” the alphabet with your other leg. The varying positions of your moving leg will force you to test your balance on the support foot, thereby strengthening those muscles in multitudes of movement patterns.
Tennis/Golf Ball pain reliever: Roll your foot over a tennis ball on the floor to increase blood flow and alleviate foot pain and cramps with a gentle massage.