3 Exercises to Crush High Heel Pain

An example of the toe stretching exercise to avoid hammertoesPretty much everyone knows that wearing high heels will, at some paint, make your feet start to hurt…but sometimes, you just have to slip into those stilettos. To help keep the inevitable pain at bay, limit the amount of time you spend in these spiky shoes and try incorporating these 3 exercise tips from Health Magazine into your regular fitness routine.

Seated calf stretch with resistance band

Recovery from a long day or evening in heels starts with calf stretches, as it reduces the risk of your calf muscle shortening.  Start in a seated position with your legs extended, heels on the floor. Wrap a resistance band around the ball of one foot and pull the band toward you, keeping the leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds; then switch sides. Repeat three times.

Standing calf raises

To avoid a sprain from teetering around in stilettos, you have to build up ankle strength. A study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that over time, wearing heels regularly actually weakens the muscles around the ankles (and also leads to dramatically worse balance). To project your ankle joints, do standing calf raises every day. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart; slowly rise onto the balls of your feet, then lower your heels back to the ground. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Towel scrunches

Heel lovers put a lot of pressure on the small muscles that start and stop below the ankle. One great way to target them involves a paper towel: Place it on the ground and, using only your toes, grab it and release for about 30 seconds. Then switch feet. Repeat three times. This exercise is particularly effective at counteracting the negative impact of toes being squished into tight, pointy shoes.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.