What Happens to a Woman’s Feet After Wearing Heels for a Week
Sheridan Watson is a writer on the BuzzFeed staff. She’s a tall, pretty woman, whose shoes posed a challenge.
“We feel bored and ignored, Sheridan. All of us high-heeled babes are stuck in this closet. You play favorites with sneakers. Why did you buy us? We need some action and satisfaction. We dare you to wear us for at least one week.”
At 5’11”, Sheridan rose to the occasion. “You’re on!” she said, smiling brightly.
“Yay!” cheered the shoes. “Now, here are the rules.”
“You must wear a different pair each day,” advised Stiletto. “This way, none of us feels neglected.”
“Fair enough,” Sheridan agreed.
“You have to leave the apartment wearing us,” stated Wedge.
“Will do,” Sheridan pledged.
“If you’re in too much pain, you can remove us in the afternoon,” said Mule.
“Thank you for your mercy,” Sheridan sighed.
“I may be stubborn, but I don’t want to see you suffer,” soothed Mule.
“Let’s do this,” Sheridan affirmed.
“Yippee!” they clapped with glee.
Sheridan was invited to a wedding. She decided to wear a sandal wedge. She figured with all the standing, walking, and dancing, this was a shoe-in for a great gala. It would have been, except for the fact that the wedding was outside. Sheridan’s wedges kept getting wedged in the lawn. Her cousin was in wedded bliss, but Sheridan’s feet were in a fix. Still, she smiled through it all.
Sheridan was asked to dinner with her mother and in-laws. Given the grief of the previous night, she needed some relief. This evening called for comfortable clothing. Sweatpants and a T-shirt were the way to go. To kick up the chic, she chose black-strapped sandals that rose above her ankles. With glowing skin and the cutest ensemble, she looked like a porcelain doll.
However, these shoes lacked padded insoles. Though they improved her posture and made her hips swing, she was conscious of every step. The sandals did take her confidence to new heights. She was masterful, invincible, on top of the world. “I’m Sheridan, the Queen!” she mused. “I owe it all to these shoes. I rule!”
With nothing on the social agenda, Sheridan was back to a casual look. As a nod to black sweats and a red-striped shirt, she chose a green wedge with silky-soft straps. The shoes were a little large for her feet. Since Sheridan prefers roomy footwear, she thought her choice was perfect. She left her apartment feeling cool and self-assured.
However, walking through town was Friction City. The chafing made her feet raw. The wedges scraped her skin like a sharp cheese grater. By day’s end, her tootsies were toast. Make that grilled-cheese.
To showcase her classy new image, Sheridan decided to wear a skirt. She thought the shoes she chose were spot-on: black, pointy-toed heels. These cuties were pretty and cushioned. She was ready to take on the day.
By afternoon, she was fighting back tears. Her feet were beyond sore. They were blistered, puffy, and sweaty. This show was a definite flop. She was starting to question the deal with her shoes. She was thinking of canceling the contract.
This day Sheridan looked deep within. “You’re not a quitter!” she crowed. Well, she had to admit she’d quit violin. She’d abandoned flute and chorus. Soccer and hockey hadn’t panned out. Volleyball and ballroom dancing had no appeal. However, she was a positive thinker, always rebounding from loss in short order. Today would be different, she vowed.
After work, she went out to dinner. Drat! She was foiled again! The duds she wore left a lasting impression. Her feet were stenciled in black.
Sheridan was due for some good luck. She had a lot of running around to do this day. She needed a shoe that would step up to the plate. To heck with fashion. She wanted a workhorse. She ended up wearing a cross between a wedge and an ankle boot. It was like a clog with a 3-inch heel.
Well, this shoe came through. Her feet were actually comfortable! She could walk without wincing, tackle stairs like an NFL pro, and drive easy-as-you-please. After five days of trial and mostly error, she’d found the perfect shoes. She was almost ready to trade in her favorite sneakers.
Sheridan was pumped up now. Relishing her victory, she suddenly felt reckless. She threw caution to the winds and took a gamble. The shoe to top all others was a lace-up stiletto. This style had absolutely no support. Still, she stood her ground. She wouldn’t let pain get her down.
Perhaps it was delirium. Perhaps the pain had blind-sided her brain. No matter, she was going to celebrate. She’d survived a week of heels!
The occasion called for a drink – a toast to feet that had taken the heat and weathered the storm. Her typical Pinot just wouldn’t do. She ordered a tequila.
Learning from Sheridan’s Shoe Saga
There are two take-away points from Sheridan’s foray into high-heeled fashion:
- If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t buy it.
- If it doesn’t feel good after a decent break-in period, nix it.
Here are some caveats about high-heels. When you wear them, your:
- chest is pushed forward
- low back arches
- hips are no longer aligned with your spine
- knees are strained
- calf muscles tighten
- balls of your feet bear more pressure
Over time, misalignment and muscle strain can lead to back pain, pinched nerves, and sciatica, where pain runs the length of your legs.
If you can’t resist the call of your heels, following are ways to avoid bad shoe days:
1. Set your heel limit at 2 inches.
2. Avoid shoes with pointy toes.
3. Vary your shoes through the day. Switch to flats when feasible.
4. Stretch your calf muscles before and after wearing heels. Following are three easy stretches to promote calf comfort:
- Towel Pull – Sit barefoot on your bed, with your legs outstretched. Loop a towel around your forefeet. Lock your knees. Grasp the ends of the towel, and pull your forefeet toward you. Hold the position at the point of a slight stretch. Maintain the pose for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat for a total of three reps.
- Wall Stretch – Stand facing a wall. With your palms on the wall and elbows locked, position your left foot at the wall. Step the right leg back. Keep your legs parallel and heels on the ground. Slowly lunge toward the wall with your left knee bent. Hold at the point where you feel a mild stretch. Maintain the position for 10 seconds. Relax and switch legs. Do three reps per leg.
- Step Stretch – Stand on a stairway with two parallel railings. Place the balls of your feet at the end of a step. Hold onto the railings and lower your heels. Stop at the point where you feel a mild pull. Hold for 10 seconds. Return your soles to the step and rest. Do three reps.
Now you can step out in comfort and style. You go, girl!