Podiatrist Nicole Reilly (pictured) explains how you can wear heels comfortably without hurting your feet
They say fashion is pain – but wearing high heels regularly can actually have serious impacts on your health.
From lower back pains and bunions to restricting blood circulation, these are just some of the problems walking in stilettos for hours every day can cause.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Sydney podiatrist Nicole Reilly revealed how you can wear heels comfortably without hurting your feet.
‘We always recommend sticking to the 80/20 rule, where 80 per cent of the time you wear sensible shoes, and keep your highest heels for limited activities,’ she said.
‘It really depends on the activity level. If you’re working around the desk a lot, stick to lower heels or wear thicker wedges – they’re more beneficial than stilettos.’
She explained wearing high heels can cause ugly side effects to your body, including serious health problems, painful bunions, and a host of injuries.
From lower back pains and bunions to restricting blood circulation, these are just some of the problems walking in stilettos for hours every day can cause (stock image)
‘It can cause a pinch nerve – a sharp pain in your foot, bunions, clawed toes, muscle shortening of calf and hamstring muscles, lower back pain and ankle injuries,’ she said.
Ms Reilly, who is the founder and owner of Sole Therapy, said the unnatural positioning of the toes and pressure put on the ball of your feet can trigger the development of bunions.
‘It’s inconclusive that you’re definitely going to get bunions,’ she explained.
‘But if you have a family history or your foot is weak, you’re more exposed to bunions – and the likelihood of getting bunions are higher.’
So how do you know your heels are right for your feet?
‘Have a look at standing in your heels, if you can fit two fingers [index and middle] in the arch area, then it could cause foot fatigue or a strain,’ she said.
‘Make sure you have a nice contour to the base of your heels. Heels have become more fashionable but you want to ensure your feet are secure.
‘You don’t want your feet to rock in the heels, because causes the forefoot to be squashed and you don’t want that.’
The podiatrist explained wearing high heels can cause ugly side effects, including serious health problems, painful bunions, and a host of injuries (stock image)
For everyday use, the ambassador of the Australian Podiatry Association said women should opt for square or wide toe heels, wedges or shoes with more cushion.
Ms Reilly said there were many ways to help feet recover after a long day in heels.
‘Use spiky balls to massage the ball of your feet because it relieves the nerve fibre from being over sensitive and it releases knots,’ she said.
‘Epsom salt baths allows the tissues in your feet to relax. Moisturise your feet every day – yoga and foot exercises are also great.
‘If you wear heels a lot, get a foot massage, needling or pamper your feet by seeing a podiatrist.’
She advised high heel wearers should see a podiatrist on average every six weeks for maintenance care.
Ms Reilly suggested sticking to the 80/20 rule, where 80 per cent of the time you wear sensible shoes, and keep your highest heels for special occasions (stock image)
Her interview comes on the heels of an Australian study where researchers looked at the long-term use of high-heeled shoes and how it alters the neuromechanics of human walking.
Researchers from Griffith University in Queensland observed nine high heel wearers who had worn shoes with a minimum heel height of five centimetres.
The study also compared women who wore heels at least 40 hours a week for a minimum of two years – and 10 participants who habitually wore heels for less than 10 hours a week.
The study found long-term high heel use may compromise muscle efficiency in walking and are consistent with reports that high heel wearers often experience discomfort and muscle fatigue.
Wearing heels regularly also increased the risk of strain injuries.