Kick in the New Year with healthy, happy feet
The CORE Institute, (CORE), Arizona’s largest and most respected orthopedic practice, wants everyone to have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve celebration, and that means keeping the body healthy while showing off those fancy heels.
As a general rule, the higher the heel the greater the risk the shoe poses. But hazards of wearing heels begin at a person’s foundation, the foot and ankle, then proceeds through the lower back.
“Foot fashion alters body position and stresses not only your foundation but also joints in the lower extremity and spine,” says Dr. Melissa Galli, a foot and ankle surgeon at The CORE Institute. “High heels have been shown to increase pressures in the knee, one factor known to contribute to knee arthritis.”
Galli explains, a heeled foot throws the body’s center of mass forward. To prevent a fall and injury, the body’s posture compensates, throwing joint and the spine out of alignment. With the front of the foot downward, the strong tendon behind the ankle, the Achilles, shortens and tightens in direct relation to the height of the heel. This causes inflammation known as Achilles tendonitis, which can make walking barefoot, exercising in sneakers, and wearing flats painful.
Below are five ways to strike a balance between holiday fashion and foot health:
- Before buying a pair of heels, try bending the shoe side to side and folding it in half; forego the shoe that gives too much and opt for a sturdy style.
- Platforms are a more favorable party strategy as they minimize the stresses seen in a steep-angled shoe. To minimize heel hazards, choose a sturdy, nicely padded style with a wide toe box and a heel height of 2 inches or less.
- Prior to wearing heels to a party, break them in by putting on thick socks and wearing them around the house for 2-3 hours a day for a few days before the event. This will break them in and help prevent blisters.
- During the party, sit down often to relieve pressure on the toes and the balls of the feet. Also, bring a pair of ballet flats just in case the pain is too much.
- After the party, do arch stretches by pointing and flexing the toes towards and away from the body, for a few seconds at a time. For the next few days, wear supportive, comfortable shoes.
Dr. Galli adds, “While heightened dress shoes may make that dress a bit more attractive, the risk of injury this puts on your body is much less attractive.”
If there is still pain or numbness a few days later, call a foot & ankle provider or make an appointment at The Core Institute to get a professional examination to ensure there is no serious damage.
About The CORE Institute
The CORE Institute was founded to fulfill a vision of excellence in patient care encompassing the entire spectrum of orthopaedic and neurosciences care. The CORE Institute delivers integrated, comprehensive musculoskeletal and neurological care. It is built upon a foundation of pioneering research, academics, community service, and a passion for excellence in patient care. The organization continues to be a leader in payor-reform initiatives, and it is at the forefront of systems-based quality programs which drive value and improve the quality of patient care.
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