Getting your feet through the party season

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Those killer stilettos sitting in your closet may look smokin' hot, but the resulting corns and callouses are not a great look. With party season upon us, we ask podiatrist Kate McArthur-Jones for her top tips to taking the strain off.

What are the best shoes to wear for a big night out, or formal evening do?

A three and a half inch patent leather or suede shoe - with a platform - are the perfect footwear for a longer night out. This makes the shoe look taller and elegant while also giving your feet stability.

Anything over four inches will start to feel uncomfortable over the course of the evening. High heels put excessive pressure on the balls of your feet so try to have some form of cushioning.

Top tip: Mister Minit's Gel Soft Steppers placed at the forefoot of your shoes are a great way to reduce the pressure on the foot whilst giving some cushioning. (Be careful not to place them too far forward though, otherwise your little toes get squished!)

If you have a pair of comfortable shoes already, try having them resoled with rubber soles, and if necessary stretch the shoe to add width. Again, try inserting Mister Minit's Gel Soft Steppers for extra comfort. Both services are provided at Mister Minit stores.

What can you do to help soothe the pain in your feet after a night out?

A brilliantly easy way to help relieve the tension in foot and calf muscles is to simply rotate your feet from the ankles, whilst laying in bed.

Another idea for soothing aches and pains is to place feet in a foot bath with Epsom Salts and spend five minutes massaging the soles.

Top tip: A great foot strengthening exercise that I recommend is pick up a towel using your toes, and drag it back and forth for a minute. Try doing this for each foot, every day of the week (taking the weekends off!)

What typical type of damage is done to feet from wearing high heels?

High heels place a lot of pressure on the forefoot - our toes get squashed together in pointed shoes, we get corns, callouses, pinched nerves, ankle sprains, lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain. I'm afraid to say, heels can do a lot of damage! Over time we can also experience weakness in our gluteals (bum muscles) and shortened calf muscles.

So why do we wear high heels?

Let's face it. High heels make us happy, feel confident and importantly, give us height. As long as we give our feet some much-needed love on a regular basis, we can make life comfortable and give our feet a break. Alternating your shoes regularly is a key way of alleviating longer-term podiatry problems. Wear different heights, shapes, materials to help reduce the repetitive strain you are putting on your feet and lower limbs. A great excuse for buying more shoes!

Many people believe that flat shoes are the best support for your feet, but is this necessarily the case?

Yes, it's a common perception that flat shoes are better for you. However, if your feet have weak muscles (there are four layers of intrinsic muscles on the bottom of your feet - some of which go up into your calf muscles), poor foot flexion and flexibility, and you spend a fair bit of time pacing the concrete pavements, then flats can too cause problems for your feet. I know personally that if I wear flats several days in a row my back hurts and my feet get very tired.

Related video: Most ridiculous shoes ever made.

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