How Can I Avoid Sore Feet On a Long Night Out?

With Thanksgiving behind us, I know so many of you will be facing a marathon of holiday parties, and many long nights out. Now, much as I hate to admit it, I know that party heels are a crucial part of your holiday season uniform—it’s just unavoidable.

But do you know what isn’t unavoidable this holiday season? Foot pain! Even if you wear sky-high stilettos every time you go out between now and New Year’s, there are steps you can and should take to protect your feet. Follow my six-step foot pain solution, and you can avoid starting 2019 in a tremendous amount of pain.

Four Hacks to Avoid Night-Out Foot Pain
You can party in high heels without having to take them off
1. Fix Your Fit:
You may think you know your exact shoes size, but guess what? Not only does shoe size fluctuate with age, weight gain and pregnancy, but every shoe brand and style fits your foot differently. So, before you buy those size six Louboutins, make sure you’re stView Siteill a size six, or you’re setting yourself up for a painful evening even before the party starts! Another key fitting point that bears repeating? Shop for shoes later in the day, when your feet have already undergone the light amount of swelling that is natural for everyone.

2. Balance is Crucial
Here’s the real key to staying comfortable in your heels: minimizing the wobbling and increasing your stability. For this reason, you’ll want to stay away from narrow, pointy heels, as they cause you to lean forward, putting excess weight on the balls of your feet—all of which adds up to sore and tired tootsies at the end of the night. With this in mind, if you can make a chunkier heel work with your outfit, go for it—especially if dancing is on the agenda for the night.

3. Place Your Padding
Even with a chunky base, the balls of your feet will take a bit of beating when you wear heels all night, so plan for this problem in advance. There are some great over-the-counter products, like Scholl’s Party Feet or other gel insoles that can provide your feet with extra cushioning to protect against all that pressure. And to keep blisters and sore spots at bay, look for other areas that can be padded or covered up. Before the party, feel around the inside of your shoe, stopping at any hard spots or stitches that may rub your feet throughout the night. Cover up those spots with some padding, cotton, or even bandaids to keep them from becoming pain points later in the evening.

4. Sit One Out

Standing still in high heels is actually worse for your feet than walking the room or dancing because you don’t shift your weight between feet. So, you don’t want to be the party wallflower, but you also don’t want to hit the dance floor for five hours straight.

Instead, try dancing for two or three songs, then walking a lap or two around the room, then sitting for a few minutes. My changing your position and keeping your body in motion, you’ll prevent any one spot on your feet from getting completely beat up. Of course, even with this plan, your feet are likely to swell up a bit throughout the night, so don’t take your shoes off before you’re in the comfort of your own home—it will be extremely difficult to get them back on again with causing you discomfort. Instead, manage the amount of time spent on your feet so slipping off those heels—and heading home barefoot—doesn’t become a necessity.

Post-Party Foot RehabMake like Jennifer Garner and give your feet a cool soak--although you don't need to make it an ice bucket like she did!

Even if you follow all of my sound advice, a night in high heels will still take a toll on your feet. That’s why it’s so important to start the recovery process as soon as you get home and slip off those shoes!

At the end of the night, you’re going to be too tired to do any serious rehab, so just do this: slip off your shoes and spray your foot with some disinfectant, helping prevent any infection in blisters or cuts that may be brewing. And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyways) if you already see a blister, don’t pop, pick or cut it open—simply spray it and forget it until the next morning.

When you wake up, if feet feel achy or tired, try this simple move: throw some Epsom salts into cool water (about 4 cups of water to 2 tablespoons of salt) and soak your feet for about 20 minutes. The cool water will feel good and calm down inflammation, helping blood flow return to your feet and start the healing process for any damage that may have been done the previous night.

After your foot spa, use common sense and give your feet a break from high heels for the next few days. Invest in some super comfy socks and stick to sneakers or other supportive foot wear for the rest of the week. Follow this advice and you’ll be ready for another night out by the weekend!


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