Revealed: The exact party heels to wear for YOUR foot type and stay comfortable all night – whether you suffer from wobbly ankles or bunions
- EXCLUSIVE: Ros Miller is Foot and Ankle Surgeon at King Edward VII’s Hospital
- London-surgeon has revealed exact shoe to wear according to foot complaint
- Wedge with a cork heel is ideal for flat feet and round toe for bunions
- A lace up boot provides stability if you suffer with wobbly ankles
With the party season in full swing, chances are you’ve enjoyed a few night out on the tiles recently that have left your feet aching after squeezing into glamorous sandals.
Ros Miller, Foot and Ankle Surgeon at King Edward VII’s Hospital, has revealed the exact shoes you should wear this party season to avoid sore feet
But now an expert has revealed how you can dance the night away in comfort and avoid painful feet the morning simply by choosing the right type of shoe for your particular foot complaint.
Ros Miller is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London explained that there are three ‘rockers’ behind the biomechanics of your gait when you walk.
The first is the heel strike, body weight behind the foot and ankle; the second is the mid-stance, and the third is toe off- body weight in front of the foot and ankle.
‘When you put your feet into shoes, depending on the shape of the shoe, and the height and type of heel, the biomechanics is altered,’ she explained.
‘If you currently have issues with your feet, then the type of shoe that you choose to wear, will impact on the level of discomfort that you may experience. Here are some of the considerations for different types of foot problems.’
COMPLAINT: BUNIONS AND BUNIONETTES
THE SHOE: ROUND TOE WITH STURDY HEEL
A rounder toe shoe which has more space for toes is better than a pointed one. Pick a softer material to allow the foot to swell, rather than a stiff leather or plastic, which will cause rubbing. Or choose a strappy, open toe sandal, as the straps may go around instead of directly over the bump and therefore not put any pressure on the toe.
A sole with cushioning in the ball of the foot can help to ease the pain.
The higher and narrower the heel, the more the weight of the body is forced forward onto the front of the foot, this will cause more pressure and therefore more pain on the bunion. The narrow, stilletoe type heel significantly changes the biomechanics of gait, in that you are unable to walk in the correct ‘heel to toe’ but instead effectively are ‘teetering on tip-toe’. This puts the maximum force possible through the big toe and bunion.
The J.Crew Celia Ankle Strap Block Heel Court Shoe with a sturdy heel and round toe is a good choice if you suffer from bunions. Or an open toe style such as this pair from & Other Stories can help as there’s nothing touching the toe and adding pressure
COMPLAINT: BIG TOE ARTHRITIS
THE SHOE: PLATFORM WITH THICK HEEL
If you have wear of the cartilage in the big toe, this can range from early wear and tear to full blown arthritis. The body can’t make new cartilage, but can lay down extra bone at the top of the toe to increase the area that the forces across the joint are dispersed. This means that the joint loses some movement and becomes stiffer, particularly when ‘toeing-off’ at the 3rd rocker of gait.
A rounder toe with a wider fit will help. Try to get a softer material and also think about where the edge of the shoe meets the foot. It is better to have nothing covering the joint, or for the joint to be completely covered, rather than having a ridge or seam over the joint.
Sole of Shoe
A stiff soled shoe stops movement of the big toe and therefore reduces the pain. A platform heel can help, particularly one that has a curved sole, as this then creates the 3rd rocker for the foot in the shoe, instead of through the big toe.
Anything that forces the weight of the body forward onto the toe will increase the pain. A thicker, lower type heel is better to distribute the weight of the body evenly across the foot.
The nude FLYNN shoes by Kurt Keiger has a platform sole and sturdy block heels that’s ideal if you suffer from arthritis in the big toe
COMPLAINT: FOOT PAIN
THE SHOE: CORK WEDGE WITH OPEN TOE
Ball of foot pain (Metatarsalgia), Toe problems (Hammer toes, Claw Toes), Nerve pain (Morton’s Neuromas), Swelling of capsule of foot (Bursitis) – all these conditions are exacerbated by squeezing your forefoot into a tight small space.
When you go through your third rocker, your forefoot actually spreads to create a greater area to spread the force of your body weight.
Women’s shoes tend to be made on a very narrow ‘last’, or template for the shoe.
If you pick a toe type is also narrow, e.g. a pointed type toe, this means that your foot cannot spread out naturally as you walk. This results in your toes getting rubbed or pinched. More pressure is put on the metatarsal heads (the ‘knuckles’ in the ball of your foot).
This causes pain and swelling of the soft tissues (bursitis). It can also cause irritation of the nerves between the small toes of the foot, Morton’s neuroma, which can feel as if you have a pebble or stone in your shoe.
A round, wider fit shoe will definitely help. A softer material, or open toe, will help to releave pressure and therefore rubbing on the top of the toes.
Sole of Shoe
A cushioned sole will be much more comfortable. Very thin leather sole will be much more painful. If you have a rocker sole (as some platform shoes do) this will be easier.
A high narrow heel is very problematic for this problem. A low heel is much easier. If you do want to wear a high heel, a wedge heel, preferable with an open toe and sole make of cork is the ideal shoe, so that there is less pressure on the toes, the ball of the foot is cushioned as you walk (as the cork absorbs some of the force) and the wedge allows the pressure to be spread across the whole of the foot.
Dune Caydence Peep Toe Wedge Heel Sandals have a cork wedge that will be more comfortable for issues such as nerve pain and claw toes. If you prefer something more strappy, the Dune London Karlotta shoes will also help stave off foot pain
THE COMPLAINT: FLAT FEET
THE SHOE: ROUND TOE WEDGE
There are two types of flat feet, flexible and rigid. Flexible feet are because the tendons and ligaments on the inside of the foot are not working properly. Rigid flat feet are because there is arthritis in the foot. Rigid flat feet are very difficult to get into anything other than a low heel.
A wedge heel is a good option for support if you suffer from flat feet
Flexible flat feet actually do reasonably well in a high heel – actually this may help to strengthen the muscles and ligaments that have become lax.
People with flat feet also tend to be fairly mobile and therefore have a tendency to develop bunions. Therefore pointed shoes are problematic and a round toed shoe is better.
A cushioned sole will help. Some shoes have a padded or raised arch (Think Birkenstocks) to help support the arch of the foot.
A block heel or wedge heel will help to support the arch of the foot.
COMPLAINT: UNSTABLE ANKLES
THE SHOE: LACE UP BOOT
If you have wobbly ankles or a tendency to roll your ankles, this is usually due to the fact that you have weak or torn ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This can cause pain, or repeatedly going over on the ankle. Long term this can cause you to develop wear and tear of the ankle joint and in some cases ankle arthritis.
For this problem the key is having and ankle strap or lace up boots. The key to the strap is that it needs to be reasonably thick, so that it can essentially mimic the ligament of the ankle. A boot with laces will help considerably.
A block heel or a broader wedge will help you to balance better so that you are not forcing the weight forward onto the ball of your foot and ‘teetering’ on your tip-toes. If you have problems with your balance this may be due to weakness in your ankles. As you force yourself onto your tiptoes, this means that the ligaments have to work much harder to stabilise your ankle. A broad heel helps you to take the weight back onto the back of your foot and let the tendons and ligaments around the ankle work more effectively.
A lace up boot such as the Kurt Geiger Vivian is an ideal option if you battle with unstable ankles
COMPLAINT: ACHILLES TENDON AND HEEL PAIN
THE SHOE: CHUNKY HEEL
Tight Achilles can be very painful if you develop an Achilles tendonopathy (Painful achilles) or inflammation of the plantar fasciia (Plantar faciitis), which cause heel pain. Both of these structures are related to each other and are the soft tissues that come from the calf muscle to attach to the heel – Achilles tendon, which then goes around the heel to attach to the base of the toes – Plantar fascia. When they become tight, sudden stretching can cause microtears and inflammation, which is painful.
A cushioned sole, particularly of the heel will help to absorb some of the forces and take the pressure of the sore point, particularly in plantar fasciitis.
This is the one time when wearing heels really does help. Again, a broader or block heel is better as this helps you to spread the load of the forces across the foot.
One of the most important things to remember to do is to make sure that you stretch regularly your calves and the sole of your foot, particularly the morning after you have worn high heels so that these structures stretch out to the correct length.
A chunky high heel such as Office Hadley Strap Block Heel Sandals is your best bet if you suffer from Achilles tendon and Heel Pain
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