Home CommentaryStudent Life ‘Heel’ your fabulous feet

‘Heel’ your fabulous feet

by The Concordian November 8, 2011

Every woman loves a man that heightens her, supports her, and makes her look good. If we’re lucky, their names are usually Christian Louboutin, Stuart Wietzman, Giuseppe Zanotti, or Manolo Blahnik, Jeffrey Campbell, Steve Madden, and even a little Aldo now and then. But men are notoriously known for breaking women’s hearts, and for the sake of this argument, even the best manage to do some damage. But it’s not our hearts that are hurting here; these men leave our feet aching, our ankles sore, and our backs broken. Not to mention leaving our wallets a little barren too.

Do you really know what you’re doing to your poor feet every time you wear your favourite heels? Christian Louboutin, famed shoemaker to countless celebrities and fashion fiends was once quoted saying, “So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation.” Well, not exactly, unless you’re the masochistic type that enjoys pain. It seems that stepping into high heels is similar to foot binding, according to a report from the University of Maryland Medical Center that said “[…]many fashionable high heels are designed to constrict the foot by up to an inch.” Ouch.

And can you believe heels four inches or more put seven times your body weight in pressure all on your tiny little feet? Well, I can. I’ve ended up barefoot around the city one too many times. Let’s count: prom, New Year’s Eve, my brother’s engagement party, my 18th birthday, my 21st birthday. The list goes on. When I wear heels, I end the night feeling as though my feet have literally been beaten and bleeding, painfully tender to the touch. Getting out of bed the next morning is no fun either, with every step a reminder of the stupid (but so, so pretty) heels I regretfully wore the night before. But I’ve learned from my experiences, and although the ache on my poor feet will probably never stop me from wearing heels, I now make sure to bring a pair of my trusty, pain-relieving flats everywhere I go (which might relieve my feet, but seriously pains my outfit).

Nevertheless, life isn’t that easy for us girls, and opting for ballet flats doesn’t solve the problem. Flats can just as easily cause back pain and bunions, amongst other problems, because they offer absolutely no support. Don’t cringe, but the best shoes to wear are those with a low heel, around one to two inches tall. Wedges are a fitting, and still very fashionable option, if you’re looking to add height, but try to opt for a round toe instead of a pointy one. If you absolutely need to break out the killer five-inch heel, look for some with a hidden platform on the base of your foot that will reduce the pressure without compromising style. The University of Maryland Medical Center report suggests to, “[…]look for [high-heeled] shoes with wide toe room, reinforced heels that are relatively wide, and cushioned insoles.”

Christina Hanna, a Concordia psychology student, says that she has an intense love/hate relationship with heels. “I’m drawn to their beauty and the way they look on my feet when I try them on,” she said. But sometimes they can be a dilemma. Hanna says she mainly wears heels when she knows she’ll be sitting, opting for the security of knowing she’s not standing all night.

“How many times do us girls get all sexy and glamorous in an outfit and heels for a party and right after we get there we’re in so much pain we want to take our shoes off and throw them in a lake? And yet the next time you still wear them again and fall into the same trap!”


It’s an endless cycle, so if you simply can’t get enough of wearing heels and the infinite pain that your feet endure, there are more extreme measures you can take. The Globe and Mail reported about a celebrity doctor based in New York who  administers injections to the bonier parts of the foot that are subjected to most of the pressure, which stimulates collagen in the area, creating cushions to alleviate pain. Although some of us clearly have the pain threshold for the procedure, not all of us have the $500 budget for the injections.

We all know by now that women can’t resist the bad boys—ones that look so good, but hurt so bad. The same goes for sparkly stilettos that we know are going to break our banks and fracture our tiny toe bones. A good shoe is almost every girl’s weakness, even if we know just how painful they can be. And although sometimes we all need a little indulgence, we should try and avoid slipping into Cinderella’s glass slipper every chance we get. But if you’re wearing some killer heels à la Lady Gaga, there’s almost no avoiding that dreaded end of the night feet-throbbing-can’t-handle-one-more-step feeling. After all, when we choose to wear heels, we’re accepting that sometimes beauty really is pain.

The price of having fabulous high heels:


  • Blisters, corns, or calluses can develop when high heels throw weight into the ball of your foot.
  • Lower back pain can result when your spine bends backwards to compensate the forward push of your body when you walk in heels.
  • Pain in the ball of your foot, a condition called metatarsalgia, can stem from high heels.
  • Ankle sprains are more likely because your foot position in heels and the often-narrow heel width can make ankles unstable.
  • Achilles tendonitis is a risk. Frequent wearing of heels shortens and tightens calf muscles. This can lead to painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of your heel.
  • Benign tumours of nerves, called neuromas, can grow between toes. Symptoms may include sharp pain and tingling or numbness of the toes.
  • “Pump bump,” or Haglund’s deformity, has been linked to women who often wear high heels. This painful bump on the back of the heel bone occurs when the bone rubs against the shoe or a narrow, pointed shoe makes toes curl up.

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