BY Dr. Darria Long Gillespie
The higher the heel, the closer to God, I say. My husband (an orthopedic surgeon), on the other hand, says the solution to high heel pain is to not wear them.
I’m keeping my heels. But, I’m considering a new husband.
Let’s face it — my telling you not to wear heels wont convince you to stop (I wouldn’t listen to me say that either), but how can you do so comfortably — and safely? As an ER doctor, I’ve treated many women with high heel-related injuries — including one who fell after catching her heel in cobblestones.
In fact, a recent study showed that ER visits for injuries caused by heels have doubled since 2002, leading to foot and ankle sprains, fractures and other injuries.
So, there are fashion emergencies, and fashion “emergencies.” Darling, I don’t want you to be either one, which is why I’d never tell you to avoid heels. However, I wont wear heels that hurt, and you don’t have to either.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Even fairy godmothers can’t make every glass slipper comfortable (note that Cinderella had ditched hers before the end of the night). So, choosing the right shoes is crucial. Here’s what to look for:
• Style: Foot surgeons advise sticking to a height of two inches or less. Sky-high heels shift your foot forward, putting pressure on the ball of your foot — and more pressure equals more pain and chance of injury. I’ll wear a little higher heel, but then I”ll look for ones with a little platform in the toe-box to make the angle less steep. Styles with a T-strap or Mary Janes have the extra benefit of holding your foot in place.
• Size and shape: When was the last time you had your foot measured? If you’ve had children/gained or lost weight/just can’t remember, it’s time for a recheck. Too small and your foot doesn’t sit well in the arch. Too big and it slides forward. The best fit will nicely hug and support your own arch, and it definitely shouldn’t hurt. Also, opt for wider toe boxes for best comfort and less long-term injury.