Are those high heels killing your feet after some dancing?


The night is young and the music's high, but the pain in your feet is making you cry. Fear not, there are steps you can take to prevent sore feet from those fashionable high heels. — dpa

For those who sit at a desk in comfortable shoes all week, a night on the dance floor can be surprisingly painful affair.

Be it at a wedding, graduation ball, reunion or just another Saturday night out, you may want to feel the music, but your feet will say no.

Anna-Maria Simantira, foot specialist at a clinic in the German city of Munich, has some tips on how to avoid blisters and other dangers of all-night dancing in this Q&A:

What does dancing in heels do to my feet?

“It’s quite a lot for your feet to cope with,” says Simantira.

The trouble starts with the fact that often, we rarely wear our party shoes, and perhaps find ourselves in them two or three times a year.

It’s no wonder that we don’t wear them often, as they tend to be narrower and have higher heels than regular daily shoes, making them less comfortable and easy to wear day in, day out.

“High-heeled shoes mean that the front of your foot in particular, is bearing all the weight.

“In addition, your toes have less room,” she says.

That means your foot is less stable and is subjected to greater strain due to the unfamiliar footwear.

And all that spells a greater risk of your shoes rubbing and you developing blisters.

These problems do not only affect women.

“Men can also suffer,” says Simantira.

Men’s shoes designed for weddings or balls are also frequently tighter than everyday shoes.

So how can I compromise between fancy and comfortable shoes?

Start off by knowing your own foot and what it needs.

If it is fairly wide, don’t squeeze it into that narrow strappy sandal, or you will be hurting by your third song on the dance floor.

“Especially as there is usually not enough space to insert insoles for additional support when you are wearing such stylish shoes,” says Simantira.

Bear in mind that your feet bear your whole body weight.

“And the smaller the support surface, the more unstable it becomes,” she says.

The key is compromise: stylish, yet reasonably comfortable and stable.

For that, try a shoe model with a wider and/or lower heel.

And if you don’t want to sacrifice height?

“Then you can gain height by going for shoes with a little platform at the front without your foot having to stand too steeply,” says Simantira.

Even if you only wear these fancy shoes a few times a year, it’s worth investing in quality.

“Choose a shoe that has a small cushion in the ball of the foot, and so provides more support.

“After all, you don’t want to sit in the corner at the party and saying: ‘These shoes look great, but I can’t dance in them.’”

How can I prevent blisters?

Blisters are caused by pressure or friction, and often, they form in the same places on your foot.

Simantira therefore advises looking back: Have you previously had blisters mainly at the back of the heel, where the edge of the shoe and skin rub against each other?

Or are you perhaps more prone to blisters on the outside of your little toe?

“I have to find out: Where does the shoe pinch?’” says Simantira.

These areas can then be specifically relieved for the party night.

This can mean sticking a blister plaster or some skin-coloured therapeutic tape there in advance.

“The main thing is that the friction is not between the foot and the shoe, but between the shoe and the plaster.”

There are also special pressure protection rings that can be stuck to the relevant areas.

However, the foot doctor advises not to overdo it: “The more material I put in the shoe, the less space the foot has.

“So, don’t pad things out from all sides, but do it selectively.”

And of course, if you are wearing socks or tights, you should check that there are no seams that pinch the foot.

This can also cause blisters.

And how can I prepare my feet for nights out?

Blisters and pressure sores are not the only foot problems that can occur on the dance floor.

“It’s not unusual for us to have patients who twist their ankle on high heels during a night of partying and then end up in A&E the next day,” says Simantira.

This can also be prevented by paying attention to the ankle in the days and weeks before the party.

This can be easily incorporated into everyday life, e.g. by standing on one leg when brushing your teeth.

Walking around the house on tiptoe also gives the ankle joint more stability in the long term.

This makes you less likely to twist your ankle.

I’m getting a blister after all. Do I take off my shoes and keep dancing barefoot?

“Unfortunately, we can’t really recommend that,” Simantira says.

First of all, there is the hygiene factor.

“If I have a blister and walk around barefoot, there’s a risk of germs finding a way in and causing an infection.”

There is also the risk of hurting yourself.

If there’s broken glass or minor damage to a wooden floor, it’s easy to get something stuck in your foot.

If you can no longer dance in your high heels, but want to carry on, you’re better off slipping into more comfortable shoes, so pack an extra pair as a precaution.

“These might be your favourite sneakers or a pair of lightweight flats.

“They won’t protect you from clumsy dance partners, but they will protect you from the dirt on the floor,” says Simantira.

First aid for blisters is provided by blister plasters, which fit into even the smallest party bag.

The foot doctor says it also makes sense to disinfect the blister, but admits that this is going to be tricky on the dance floor.

In any case, you should try to make sure that no dirt gets into the wound.

ALSO READ: Should you ever pop a blister on your foot? Here's the answer

How do I get back on my feet the next day?

You may wake up regretting your night of excess, with not only a headache, but sore feet as well.

If so, it’s a good idea to give them a break and some tender care and attention to help them recover.

“Professional dancers do ice footbaths between performances,” says Simantira.

“But a simple footbath should be enough here.”

Otherwise, cool your feet, put them up and use moisturising cream to massage them.

If you’re considering trying to get over your hangover with a run or a workout, you may want to postpone this to spare your feet. – By Ricarda Dieckmann/dpa

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Feet , blisters , shoes , high heels


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