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Feet Hurt in High Heels? Here’s What to Do

woman rubbing her feet after wearing high heels all day
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Wearing high heels is a choice that’s not for everyone. If you do decide to wear them—whether for special events or every day—you should be aware that they come with some risks.

High heels often make you feel temporarily uncomfortable or even unstable, which can put you at risk for injury. And, over time, even the minor effects of wearing heels can compound into serious foot issues. For example, when worn often, high heels might cause your feet to adapt in unhealthy ways that could require surgical treatment. They can also negatively affect your back and spine.

That’s why medical professionals advise against making heels your go-to footwear. No matter how often you choose to wear them, you can still take steps to make them a bit safer and more comfortable.

A few simple foot stretches and exercises, done regularly, will reduce your high heel-related pain and risk of injury.

When you strengthen the muscles in your calves, ankles, and feet, you improve your stability in heels and reduce the potential risks. So, anything you do that engages these body parts will help you wear heels with fewer problems.

Dance, yoga, and pilates all tend to strengthen the right muscle groups for wearing heels. To target the area even more, check out these three exercises that will make you safer and more confident in your heels. Finally, try to regularly rotate in a pair of flats, so your feet have a chance to stretch out in a more natural position before you put those heels back on.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master's in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph's University. Her work has appeared in publications like Racked, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rum Punch Press. She was awarded a 2017 Writing Between the Vines residency.  Read Full Bio »

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