Ladies, who here has caught her heel on a crack in the sidewalk and done a faceplant in front of, oh, everyone? Meeeee! If you’re lucky, you walk away from such a topple with no more than a skinned knee and a bruised ego. But in worst-case scenarios, a woman can badly twist her ankle from falling in heels. The last time I fell, my ankle hurt for three days straight.
We all know of the dangers associated with wearing high heels. But many of us wear — or try to wear — high heels anyway because they look pretty and make us feel sexy. I probably can’t persuade you to wear orthopedic loafers for the rest of your life. I can, however, direct you to Dr. Luisa Dillner at the London Guardian newspaper, who has some tips on how to reduce your risk of a faceplant drastically.
According to a study by the company MBT (which makes these ugly, yet apparently orthopedically sound, toe shoes), over 40 percent of women in a survey of 1,000 said they had had an accident while wearing heels, with the most common accident being a trip and fall. Various other studies cited by the Guardian remind us heels increase the risk of arthritis to the knee and cause bunions. Dr. Dillner’s primary piece of advice is to wear high heels that actually fit your feet. Your feet can maneuver better and you can carry yourself more comfortably if your toes are not pinched and/or chafing. She also notes that your foot size changes throughout adulthood, so the heels that fit you at 21 may not fit at 25. (Although if your shoes last that long without falling apart, good on you.)
Here’s additional advice from Dr. Dillner, as told to the Guardian:
- Don’t wear high heels as everyday shoes.
- Limit the time you wear them to no more than five hours.
- When you walk in heels, glide rather than stomp and put the heel down before the ball of your foot.
- Wear flat shoes if you have to do any serious walking.
All of this advice may sound obvious, but I know many women who break it — myself included. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve sometimes worn high-heeled booties when running errands because I wanted to look cute, even though my feet killed afterwards. Don’t be like me: wear flats except for special occasions! (And trust me, people who live outside of New York City and think that every woman runs around in six-inch-heels like in “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada”: that’s fiction.)
And if all of this doesn’t convince you to swap the heels for flats more than a few days a week, read this great piece on The Frisky by author Courtney E. Martin, “You’re Sexy Without Lifethreatening High Heels.” Because it’s true.
Contact the author of this post at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.