Why is it so important to find comfortable high heels? And are shoes the only reason why women's feet seem to hurt more? While shoes can play a role in women's foot health, new research suggests that hormones are a problem, too. Let's take a closer look.
Estrogen and Foot Pain: What's the Connection?
Estrogen is one of the hormones in your body that give you female characteristics. At different times in women's lives, their estrogen levels fluctuate. These changes are especially noticeable during pregnancy and after menoupause. (Remember, we define menopause as having had no periods for a full year.)
Now, estrogen plays other roles in your body, too. So, when your body produces less estrogen, you'll notice several changes. And one of those could be that your body loses some of its collagen.
Of course, we know that collagen plays a role in your skin's repair. And it can also keep you looking more youthful. But what does collagen have to do with foot pain?
Here's the story. When your body has less collagen, it's less elastic and resilient. In turn, it takes longer to heal injuries. And your joints get achy a lot easier. As a result, foot pain is quite common for post-menopausal women. Giving them plenty of reason to look for comfortable high heels.
Still, plenty of other women need to worry about hormones, foot pain and shoe choice. Because, your hormones fluctuate every month, even before menopause. Plus, shoe choice affects your foot health every time you slip on a new pair. So balancing fashion and comfort is crucial for all women. Regardless of their age.
Comfortable High Heels: What Shoes Do to Your Feet
Because of their construction, high heels will always be harder on your feet. After all, when you slip into a stiletto, your body weight gets shoved forward. That puts more pressure on your forefoot. In turn, that can leave you with ball of foot pain, joint pain and more
And that's just what happens in the short term. Over time, all that pressure on the front of your feet can actually change the shape of your foot. That's why we emphasive that wearing high heels too often ups your risk for bunions, hammertoes and more.
Now, not all high heels are equally bad for you. If you can keep your heel height beneath three inches, you're already looking at fewer complications. Then, choosing wedge or platform heels over stilettos can also limit your risk. Finally, if you choose a comfortable high heel, that feels good right away? Chances are that your foot will thank you. Both now and for many years to come.
Are All Comfortable High Heels Ugly?
We hear many women complain that they can find pretty shoes. Or they can find comfy ones. But finding that sweet spot--a comfortable high heel that's actually attractive? That can be far more challenging. Thankfully, though, it's not impossible.
Don't believe us? Well then check out this award-winning shoe design.
Pretty, Comfortable High Heels to Save Your Feet...And Your Style
A few years back, a new shoe designer made a major impression at the Vator Splash in Oakland, California. (That's a start-up competition for entrepreneurs in many fields.) At one particular event, Thesis Couture won the Judges' prize for their groundbreaking creation. And it was a high-heeled shoe that offered comfort without sacrificing style.
At the time, founder and CEO Dolly Singh gave an interview discussing her innovation. And we're sharing some highlights below. Because they really resonate with what we emphasize at our Houston podiatrist's office.
On the problem with other high-heels:
Like our team, Dolly knows that traditional stilettoes are tough on women's feet. She said, "At a high level there's an accepted notion that beauty equals pain, and this is something that fashion footwear has accepted for a long time. We want to disassociate those two things, and show that you can have something beautiful without it being painful." Amen, sister. That's all we want too!
Explaining Why Most Heels Are Bad For You:
“The pain that women experience comes from the internal architecture of the shoes. Inside the high heel there is usually a metal plate, called a shank. (Tellingly, that is the name given to homemade knives that prisoners use to stab each other. So it's not shocking that this construction feels bad for women's feet.)
[It's] made out of a flat metal plate. It's strong enough to put the foot up on an angle, but it doesn't help redistribute the weight when the foot comes down. These shoes put 80% of weight on the balls of the feet, and at an awkward angle. Ultimately, this causes health issues, especially bunions, as toes get pushed into each other. Wearing these shoes can cause massive amounts of damage, so much so that millions are being spent on corrective foot surgeries.”
On her plans for (beautiful) change:
"Italian artisans know that supporting the underside makes better shoe, and the reason is because they start with a flat metal plate, and the only way to support that underside is to build up from the plate into an arch. When they start to do that, it creates a wide line in the shoe that is unattractive. What we were able to do is customize the form and shape of that curvature, and instead of building it up, curve the primary structure itself.”
Today, Thesis offers two gorgeous shoe styles for women to choose from. Now, the shoes aren't cheap. (They'll run you about $395/pair, although they do run sales at certain times of the year.) Of course, $400 is a lot to spend on shoes. But it’s still way less than a pair of Manolos, Jimmy Choos or Louboutins. Plus, they won’t do the type of damage to your feet that will cost you in the long run. Something to think about, yes, ladies?
And, while pondering your next shoe choice, consider this. If your feet already hurt, they probably won't get better on their own. So do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment with our office. We'll get you walking comfortably again. And you may even walk out of your visit with new ideas for comfortable high heels!