Taping your toes can help alleviate the pressure and pain of wearing high heelsWe all know that wearing high heels hurts your feet…but we also know that, sometimes, slipping into a pair of your most dizzying stilettos isn’t optional. For those foot-torturing occasions, check out this awesome pain-reducing hack from the folks over at Who What Wear: buy a roll of medical tape! It can solve some of the most pressing high heel problems, namely discomfort resulting from pressure and friction. Here’s how:

Medical Tape for Your Toes: the Ultimate Foot Hack

As it turns out, there's a cheap solution to some of your most pressing high-heel related foot problems! 

Friction: Stiff, pinchy high heels have a tendency to rub your feet, leaving you with plenty of blisters by the end of an evening.  While choosing shoes in more flexible materials—think fabric, not patent leather—may help, a great piece of artfully placed medical tape can mean the difference between a night that ends in blisters and one that finds you feeling blissfully friction-free all night long—the tape forms a protective barrier between your skin and the shoe.

Pressure: The ultra-high pitch of a stiletto puts tons of pressure on your feet, especially the ball of the foot and the toes. You often experience pressure-related pain due to a nerve that runs between your third and forth toes—it starts to throb from the weight of your off-kilter foot. To help alleviate the problem, simply tape your third and fourth toes together; just as splinting a broken bone alleviates the pain of the injury, taping your toes will take some strain off your nerve, make your shoes more comfortable to wear.

Adjustable High Heels to Help with Foot Pain

Of course, sometimes, your foot pain can't be solved by a simple roll of tape. You could (and should) come see me in those cases, but if you want some help preventing problems, check out these cool shoes I found while scouring the internet for foot pain solutions.

It’s not often I get excited about women’s shoes—I’m usually more frustrated about all the foot problems they tend to cause—but this line of shoes  from Germany has me all revved up! 

Originally funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Mime et Moi (now available at many online retailers) came up with a revolutionary concept: each of the different shoe designs in their line comes with five different, interchangeable heels:

  1. Stiletto (high)
  2. Stiletto (medium)
  3. Block (high)
  4. Block (medium)
  5. Block (flat)

Not only is this a really smart design concept, it’s also AMAZING news for your feet. So many of the foot problems women associate with stiletto wearing—think bunionshammertoes, shortening of the Achilles tendon—are associated with long periods of time spent in these stilettos. Even wearing flats for an extended period of time can cause big problems like chronic heel pain due to the lack of arch support included in the shoes.

One shoe, five heights - a great solution for keeping high heels from damaging your feet.

Traditional High Heels and Hammertoes

One high-heel related problem in particular could be helped by this innovative design: hammertoes! A hammertoe is a contracture of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop. Common symptoms of hammertoes include pain or irritation of the toe, formation of corns on the top or sides of the toe, and calluses that begin to appear on the bottom of the toe or on the ball of the foot.

The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle and tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people. Hammertoes are often aggravated by shoes that don't fit properly and, in some cases, ill-fitting shoes can actually cause the contracture that defines hammertoe.

This is especially true when it comes to high heels. By their very design, stilettoes transfer your weight off the pencil-thin heel and onto the more supportive base of the forefoot. Unfortunately, this shift puts a ton of pressure on your toes and the balls of your feet. And, with that extra pressure, you may start to develop an imbalance in those muscles and tendons, causing all of the problems we just discussed. 

Lowering Heel Height To Save Your Toes

Mime et Moi is a genius solution for many of these problems—as soon as discomfort starts to set in, you can just switch up your heel height (and shape—block heels are a much safer option than stilettos as they spread impact across a greater surface area, lessening the potential to damage any one portion of your foot.) And since the heels are small enough to fit in your purse, you could spend the whole day

 in one pair of shoes, choosing a medium block heel for the office, flats for any walking and reserving the stiletto (preferably medium, as heel height really should remain below 3” ) for a dinner or drinks meet up that will mostly involve sitting. In short, it keeps dangerous imbalances from becoming habitual, something that your toes will really thank you for! 

The company's website offers shoes for about about 190 Euros ($215) but, when you think of each purchase as five shoes in one, that’s really a pretty great deal! And, as an added bonus, the shoes are cure enough to have been featured in major fashion mags like Elle and InStyle. So go ahead, give it a try. The only thing you have to lose is two Benjamin Franklins and a set of crooked toes! 

While there are plenty of hacks and quick fixes that make wearing high heels more bearable, there’s no denying that these shoes will damage your feet if your wear them all the time. Already dealing with the aftermath of a stiletto addiction? Schedule an appointment to see Dr. Andrew Schneider as soon as possible.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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