No matter how much I talk about the troubles wearing high heels causes your feet (including bunions, shortened Achilles tendon, hammertoes and more) I know that women will continue to wear them.

So, in honor of the MANY new high-heels I'm sure you'll be scooping up on Black Friday and beyond, I've decided to try joining ‘em instead of beating ‘em by sharing this six-step post high heel wearing recovery plan, courtesy of and Occupational and Neurotherapist Dr Gundeep Singh. And don't forget to keep scrolling down for a special workout that can strengthen the muscles that take a beating when you rock those stilettoes. 

Stretches to Try After Wearing High Heels

If your feet are hurting after slipping off those heels (or even if they aren't yet) make these moves part of your post-stiletto routine. 

1. Towel stretch: This light stretch will ease the pain in your calf muscles and provide relief to the soles of your feet.

The towel stretch is easy to do anywhere

How to: Sit on the floor and stretch your legs out front. Bend your left leg and keep your right leg stretched. Use a towel to loop it around your foot and then pull your toes towards your body, while keeping your right knee straight.

Time: Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times.

2. Wall stretches: This stretch targets your calf muscles.

How to: Place both your hands on a wall and stand at arm's length. Keep your feet flat on the floor and then step forward with your right foot. The right foot should be about 25-30 cm away from the wall with your front knee bent and your back leg straight. Press your right knee towards the wall till you feel a stretch in your left calf muscles.

Time: Hold it for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 3 times. Repeat the same with the left foot.

3. Stair stretches: This exercise helps to stretch the hamstring muscle and relieves the pain.

How to: Stand on the stairs in a way that you heels hang off of the bottom step and the arches of your foot are supported by the step. Extend your arms at shoulder length and take support of the wall in front or on the side and hold the position. Keep the knee straight.

Time: Hold for 15 seconds and repeat five times.

4. The Water Bottle Stretch or Ball Roll: If you are suffering from a planter fasciitis (heel pain) this exercise is very effective.

How to: Sit down on a comfortable chair or stand in an upright posture. Place a water bottle, tennis ball or rolling pin on the floor. Slowly roll the sole of your foot over the object, starting from the ball of your foot to the heel of your foot across the plantar fascia.

Time: Do this for a minute. Repeat it for the other foot.

5. Squeeze your toes: This helps strengthen the toes and eases the foot pain, especially hammer-toe.

How to: Separate your toes using foam or a separator and then squeeze your toes.

Time: Do this for five seconds and repeat 5-10 times.

6. Contrast Bath: This significantly improves muscle recovery.

How to: Place your feet in ice water followed by warm water.

Time: Immerse your feet for five minutes or for as long as you feel comfortable.

Now that you know what to after you take off high heels, here's a workout to try before getting into them! 

The Best Workout for High Heel Lovers

I always devote space on this blog to reminders about the damage high heels can cause to women’s feet, so I won’t spend too much time reminding you that over-wearing stilettos can lead to bunionshammertoesfoot pain and numerous other complications…

Instead, I want to share this awesome new workout program I saw on that’s specially designed to combat high-heel associated foot pain!

Called the High Heel Rescue Workout, the program created by dancer Ilaria Cavagna uses two “Rescue Loops”—sets of leather loops connected by a tension spring—to help work out the feet. The program utilizes the loops in a series of movements that last 30 seconds to a minute each; all the movements are designed to help release tension and increase blood circulation in the feet.

Curious what this workout looks like? Check out one of the program’s signature moves:

Put the larger loops around the feet just below the joint of the little toe. Extend the legs, having the legs hip-width apart, which already engages the glutes when you lift, and you just pull out the toes lightly. The little movement connects the work of the ankle all the way to the hips. If you flex the foot more you elongate the posterior part [of the leg], which usually if you wear heels shortens because of the position of the ankle.”

Even if you don’t want to invest in the Rescue Loops, there are numerous ways in which you can strengthen your feet through exercise and combat the effects of wearing high heels. It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something. After all, as Cavagna says: “Working out the feet is really, really important. I don’t think too many people know that. Getting them strong is important because they’re the foundation of our body. If your feet are in good health, the rest of the body is in good health and can stand properly.”



Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.