Podiatrists often treat patients with foot or ankle pain related to high heels. While it may be preferable to avoid this particular footwear choice altogether if you’ve had some issues with foot pain, that’s not always something that’s easy to do if you this is your preferred style. What you can do instead is be smart about the way you choose your high-heeled shoes. Here are some tips to point you in the right direction.

Make Sure Your Heels Fit Right 

Any type of shoe that’s too loose or too tight is one that will eventually cause you some type of foot pain one time or another. With heels, a gap between the heel and arch areas means the shoe is too wide and too long, which can cause the shoe to shift around as you walk. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your feet measured, it may be a good idea to do so since shoe size can change over time due to hormonal and age-related changes.

Get the Right Support If You Want Extreme Height

The general recommendation is to avoid heels that are more than three inches high. However, if you have your heart set on extreme height, choose heels that provide sufficient support for the balls of your feet and ankles. Preferred features in higher heels include:

  • Increased thickness under the ball of the foot to offset height issues
  • A “chunkier” heel that provides better stability
  • A heel that’s positioned more towards the back so it gives better support

Don’t Skimp On Material 

Heels only held together by a very thin ankle strap aren’t going to be able to keep your foot stable, especially if you plan to wear heels like this for a several hours – or longer. Instead, look for heels that have some type of supportive material around the arch, ankle, and toe area.

Leave Enough Room for Your Toes 

Pointy heels may offer an appealing look, but your toes won’t be so happy about being crammed into a very tight space. When toes are too tightly forced together, they have to work harder to maintain stability. This could also contribute to hammertoe and similar toe-related deformities. The same thing can happen if there’s not enough material covering your toes.

Consistently wearing high heels can place too much pressure on the soles of your feet, which can contribute to calluses, joint stress, and ball of foot pain (metatarsalgia). So, if you normally wear heels throughout your workday, consider bringing some flats or other comfy shoes with you so you can give your feet a break during your lunchtime or on your way home.

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