How to keep healthy feet despite high heels

They are probably the most stylish ladies’ shoes ever. But every woman knows from painful experience that high heels are not good for the feet. No matter whether you have survived a hard business day in high heels or danced through a night on high heels – in the end it often hurts. But many people still don’t want to do without it, no matter how much pain they experience. Ballerinas for a party outfit? Some people protest: No way!

Is this a situation with no way out? The good old: “To be beautiful, you have to suffer”? No. There are ways and means to protect your feet from pain and long-term deformation despite high heels. What you can do for it, we clarify here with the help of experts.

8 facts about high heels

What are the health consequences of wearing high heels?

No life-threatening ones, so take it easy. “I also wear high shoes on certain occasions,” says Munich orthopedist and certified foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Imke Fröhlich, “High shoes have definite advantages. Many women radiate more self-confidence with high heels. We also observe a more upright posture in their wearers”. But the consequences for the feet are far less beautiful than the long legs that can conjure up high heels.

Decide calmly for High Heels. With the right gymnastics your feet stay healthy. © g-stockstudio /

“Wearing high shoes for too long or too often can lead to reversible as well as irreversible changes in the feet and the entire musculoskeletal system”, warns the expert, “This is like all unnatural postures that you adopt for too long”. This is because the human foot is not actually designed for walking on the ball of the foot, as is the case with high shoes. If you wear high heels, the foot tilts forward from the ankle joint to counteract the unnatural posture.

To prevent you from falling over in front, the knees and hips are also slightly bent and turned inwards.

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The most common consequences for back and foot health:

  • Foot damage: After long walking in high shoes, a hallux valgus (bunion) can develop. If you put excessive strain on the forefoot, as is the case with high shoes, the first metatarsal bone moves with its head to the inner edge of the foot. This makes the front part of the foot wider. At the same time, the big toe bends outwards in the middle part and approaches the middle toe at the front. This can hurt like hell and it is not pretty either. “Because women have weaker connective tissue than men, their feet are more often affected by hallux valgus,” says the orthopaedist.

Hallux valgus: This helps with a painful bunion

  • Back pain: Excessive wearing of high heels can lead to changes in the small vertebral joints. In order to stand upright in high heels, you automatically walk into the hollow back, so that malpositions or bad posture can occur in all areas of the spine. Ligaments and tendons such as the Achilles tendon can also shorten. The expert advises: “Do regular back exercises and exercise sufficiently. These are the best remedies for back pain.”

Tragen Sie hohe Schuhe nicht zu lange. Das schont Ihre Füße. After long walks in high shoes you should treat your feet to something good. © g-stockstudio/ Shutterstock

What helps against pain after wearing high heels?

  1. Foot gymnastics: “Foot gymnastics is essential to prevent damage. Because structural changes in the foot that have already occurred are difficult to treat,” the orthopaedist knows.
  2. Pedicure: Feet maltreated by high heels need special care. Massage your feet after a long party night, preferably immediately after taking off your shoes. Gently rolling over a hedgehog ball is also good for the foot muscles. Foot baths are also recommended: Bathe your feet in an invigorating bath additive for about 10 minutes and then dry them well. Tip: Rub your feet gently with an exfoliating cream so that no calluses can form. And don’t forget to cut your nails! Otherwise your toenails will grow in painfully.
  3. Walk barefoot: Walk barefoot as often as possible so that your toes can alternately spread apart and claw back in. Take off any shoes, high or flat, as soon as the ground allows. “Going barefoot is the best training for your foot muscles,” says the expert.

5 exercises to relieve and prevent foot pain

  • Roll the foot slowly and consciously.
  • Spread your toes apart.
  • Stretch your toes upwards while pressing your heel into the ground.
  • Reach with your toes for something, for example a pencil. Or try ripping a piece of paper with your feet.
  • In between, stand evenly on the heel and forefoot so that you do not lose the natural, balanced foot load.

So you’ll never bend over while running again

What is the best way to run in high heels?

Let’s Dance presenter Sylvie Meis, who often wears pumps for professional reasons, walking on high heels is mainly a matter of practice: “Train to walk in them, especially before an important event. Don’t think: ‘Oh yes, that will go well’. Do yourself a favor and don’t take any chances.” This is especially true if you rarely wear the shoes or have acquired a new model.

The most important tips for training with and wearing high heels:

  • Pay attention to a good posture: Stomach in, chest out, parting the hair on the ceiling. This not only makes you look even taller in high shoes, but also helps to prevent bad posture. “Wear your high heels at home for about an hour and look in the mirror”, advises the high heels expert. “Ask yourself self-critically: How do I present myself and above all, control your posture.
  • Pay attention to small steps: “You should not take big steps in high heels,” advises Dr. Fröhlich. And walk with foresight, because bending over in high heels is more dangerous than with flat kicks. Of course you should feel comfortable in high heels, but Sylvie Meis also says quite soberly: “You have to accept that wearing high heels is sometimes not quite comfortable.

Walking barefoot is so healthy

You see: High heels may be unhealthy, but even orthopedics wear them. Pay attention to regular foot gymnastics and your posture, and put in a few practice laps in front of the mirror on new models, then you are sure to have a successful, less painful appearance in your beloved high heels.