Tips on How to Wear Heels Guilt-Free at your Workplace

Tips on How to Wear Heels Guilt-Free at your Workplace

Ladies, can you remember a time when you came home from a long day at the office and your feet did not ache? Most likely not.

When it comes to office appropriate footwear, women get the short end of the stick. 4-inch heels and ballet slippers are by no means foot-friendly shoes.

As a Pedorthist, a lot of the patients I see rationalize their soft, poorly structured work shoes with the argument that they sit at a desk 40 hours a week. Unfortunately, the truth is that we don’t sit at your desk all day.

Think about it: You are walking from the house to the car, from the car to the office, from your desk to and from the photocopier, water-cooler, restroom, lunch room etc. Perhaps you go for a walk during your lunch break or go run errands down the street. After work, you stop at the grocery store or dry-cleaners before heading home.

All of these seemingly harmless motions add up to a lot of time on our feet, and potentially a lot of time in poor footwear.

READ MORE: Tired Feet From Work? 6 Ways to Relieve Sore Feet

Did you know a 2010 study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology confirmed what has long been known, anecdotally: consistent wearing of high heels leads to shortened calf muscles?

The study by Csapo, R. et al. found that women who habitually – 5 times a week for 2 years or more — wear high heels of 5cm in height or higher, will exhibit a 13% shortening of the gastrocnemius muscle as well as increased stiffness in the Achilles’ tendon.

This can reduce total ankle range of motion and actually make it uncomfortable to walk in flat shoes or bare feet.

Although it would be great to wear runners to work, not all of us have this luxury. Many of us are confined to a company dress-code at times.

READ MORE: Healing From A Lifetime of Wearing Heels

Spending less time in your high heels

Here are three steps you can take to reduce the time in poorly structured footwear and high heels at your workplace.

  1. Think about saving the heels for Fridays only.
  2. Switch between a high heel and a flatter shoe every other day.
  3. Wear runners or more appropriate walking shoes on your commute to the office and during lunchtime walks or errands.

Exercises to counteract muscle shortening

Lastly, here are two simple exercises you can do while at work. They will help the overall range of motion and counteract the shortening of the muscles:

  1. While seated, straighten out one leg at a time and flex your toes towards your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds before rolling out the ankle and returning the foot to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
  2. Use a step or set of stairs for this stretch. Position yourself so that you are on the ball of your foot or toes. Using a railing to steady yourself, lower yourself down so that your heels are lowering to the ground or stair below your toes. Slowly raise your heels back up. Repeat heel drops in 3 sets of 15 repetitions twice a day.

READ MORE: Stretches for Office Workers

Taking care of your feet now will help prevent painful foot problems in the future.

Kristin Ohm-Pedersen, BHK, C. Ped (C)
Kintec Pedorthist

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