6 Ways to Stop High Heels from Hurting

6 Ways to Stop High Heels from Hurting

Strut your stuff in high heels with some simple at-home tips for calf strengthening.


By: Melissa A. Kay

High heels are fashionable, versatile and can give you confidence. However, there’s often a price to pay, and not just the cost of the shoes! Use these tips to help with calf strengthening and pain prevention for enjoyable heel wearing.

Tip: Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Calf-strengthening Exercises
Strong calves help support the ankles and feet, especially when those feet are tucked inside a pair of high heels. High heels make you walk differently and use calf muscles not put to work in sneakers or flats. Get strong (not to mention great-looking) calves with these simple exercises.

1. Calf Raises
Calf raises are simple to do and can be adjusted to the intensity level you feel comfortable with. Beginners can simply stand with your feet slightly apart and, while keeping your hands on a chair for balance, on your hips, or above your head, rise onto your toes slowly, then back down to your full feet on the ground slowly. Repeat until fatigued.

If this is too simple, try standing on the edge of a stair, facing the staircase with just the toes and balls of the feet on the edge of the step. Rise up and down allowing the heels to drop below the step.

Still too easy? Hold a light dumbbell in each hand while performing the exercise.

2. Inclined Cardio
Whether you prefer walking, jogging or running, when these activities are done on an incline, the calves are put to work. If you have access to a treadmill at home or at the gym, set the tread on an incline. Gradually increase the incline as your calves get stronger. You will notice a difference in the workout and burn (the good kind) to your calf muscles.

Tip: Working out outdoors? Seek hilly areas for your workout. If you cannot find an inclined area near you, try stair climbing intermittently throughout your walk, jog or run. 

3. Box Jumping
Box jumps are an excellent calf-builder. Find a heavyweight box, footrest that won’t tip or some planks of secure wood or other heavy object. Place it in front of you and jump onto it landing on the balls of your feet and toes. Jump back down to the ground and repeat until fatigued.

Tip: Do box-jumping exercises without dumbbells to free up your hands in case you fall.

3 Pain Prevention Tips
Let’s face it, high heels can cause pain that even the most stylish pair can’t make you ignore. With some preventative care, high heel wearing can be comfortable and enjoyable.

1. Change Your Shoe Shopping Routine
You know your shoe size, but every shoe is different — and when it comes to high heels, this really makes a difference.

  • Test a few size options when trying on a new pair of heels and even consider going for a wider width if available.
  • Consider a round-toe shoe rather than a pointy toe, which can make a world of difference in preventing cramped toes and joint pain.
  • Shop late in the day when your feet are likely more swollen from a long day to find the best fit.
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2. Wear New Heels Around the House
Waiting until that big party or special night out to show off those new high heels seems like an exciting idea but, in reality, could be a nightmare. Wear new heels around the house to get used to the feel and to break them in.

Tip: Wear a pair of socks while doing so to loosen them up faster and shape them to your feet.

3. Alternate Each Day
Even the best-fitting pair of high heels and well-exercised calves need a break! As much as you may want to dress your feet in high heels every day, alternating between flats and heels not only gives your feet a break but gives your shoes a break, too.

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