So if you look at your pair of sky-high heels and think you have to sacrifice beauty for pain, think again! Dr. Haworth is the genius behind the stiletto-friendly product called Heel No Pain ($15), an entirely new and effective way to manage pain and discomfort of the foot, which effectively controls pain associated with fashion footwear. Check out what the expert told us about your favorite pair of pumps below!
Dr. Haworth, why are the most beautiful shoes the most painful ones?
This isn't necessarily true because all kinds of shoes can be beautiful. Flats are prettier than ever, sneakers and flatforms are enjoying their own high fashion moment and traditional riding boots will always be perpetually chic. What makes stilettos alluring is partly cultural and partly hard wired into our brains. A preference for a 'dainty' foot is a cultural construct. But what stilettos do to the alignment, in thrusting forward the bust and amplifying the rear end in back, appeals directly to our instinctual limbic brains because these are postures associated with sexual desire and availability. In other words, stilettos are a mating call that broadcast, "Hey, look at me!"
What about high heels and stilettos make them the perfect ingredient for foot pain?
These kinds of shoes force the foot and whole body alignment into an unnatural position. The feet get squeezed and pinched, the arches cramped and the heels blistered. Whereas on a natural foot, the body weight is evenly distributed, stilettos force the arch up and most of the body's weight forward onto the ball of the foot. Since the feet have so many nerve endings, the result of all this stressful contortion is pain.
Ouch! So what makes "Heel No Pain" such an effective remedy against high heels and stilettos?
It's a tidy, non-smearing and nearly immediate way to give yourself a 2 to 3 hour reprieve from the pain of foot pinching, cramping and blisters. At this point, the spray works on about 80% of the people who try it. At first we were puzzled that it didn't work on 100% until we realized that the response to pain (and pain medication) is a very individual thing. Take headache medicine for example; what works splendidly on one person's migraine may do nothing on another's. Right now, we're developing on formula alternatives for the other 20% so they too can step out in comfort.
Who are the ideal candidates for "Heel No Pain?"
Women experiencing temporary discomfort because of their shoes. If it's a chronic, persistent problem, unequivocally you should seek professional help.
How do we use it most effectively and how often?
You can use this whenever you need to get through a particular evening and your favorite heels or when you are on your feet at work. We recommend not using it more than four times a day. Using Heel No Pain prevents the cycle of pain from setting in. So if you're headed out and you're wearing a pair of high heels (or any other shoes, for that matter) you know are uncomfortable, spritz on Heel No Pain in advance.
Any celebrity fans of "Heel No Pain?"
Yes, but we're not telling! We made the smaller 1-oz. size specifically to be able to slip into a purse unobtrusively. If you're walking down the red carpet being tortured by your shoes, it can't be any fun. If you're winning an Oscar, you want your memory to be of the event itself rather than how horribly your feet hurt.
Any rules for wearing high heels?
Heel height should be determined by your foot size. A 3" heel on a size 10 shoe is a very different proposition than it is on a size 5. The smaller foot will have to bend in a more extreme way and there will be significantly more relative pressure on the ball of the foot and the toes (hence, the calluses in this area). Think in proportion rather than absolutes. For petite women, the proportion of a 3" heel to your foot, leg and height may look absolutely perfect and full-on glamorous.
Any additional tips for avoiding the pain of high heels?
Buy the right size shoes. Nobody, absolutely nobody, will think you look worse if you do and visually the size difference will be indiscernible to any observer but yourself. Also, vary the height of your shoes from day-to-day and even within the day. If you wear heels all day every day, you risk the tightening of your Achilles' tendon. For every hour you wear stilettos, put in at least three hours of wearing lower, more comfortable shoes.
Exercise and stretch your feet by doing things like rolling a golf ball under them while you're at your desk. Get regular pedicures and request extra foot massage time. Twice a month is ideal if you can swing it.
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