Whether you’re the one donning the heels or massaging their sore feet, we’ll bet you don’t know all the facts about why heels make feet and ankles swell.
There’s the obvious part where extra weight and pressure is placed on the ball of the foot and toes from the angle of the shoe. At a small angle, we’re talking a heel of 1-2cm, gait patterns can actually be improved compared to completely flat shoes.
Higher than this and we get that wonderful slimming effect on the leg, and they make us taller…but also hurt the balls of our feet more.Above 9cm, where the true heel lovers hang out, no wearer will finish a day or night in heels and claim their legs and feet are feeling fresh. We’ve often spotted the most beautifully dressed ladies in their bare feet at the end of the night, looking longingly at their masterpieces of shoes, wishing they could stand to keep them on their feet.
Enough of that, here’s the science bit!
When you stand/walk in high heels, your ankle and foot are placed at a certain angle which restricts bloodflow. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow back up out of your legs and means it pools slowly in your veins. The pressure on the ball of your foot when you walk which starts this bloodflow process is still there, but the tight angle at your ankle and the permanent contraction of the calf stall the process.
The pain comes when your ankles and feet start to swell in your shoes and this swelling can also be responsible for blister and sore spots you come home with as your feet will change shape and be more likely to rub off your shoes.
We have a Louboutin lover in the office who claims she could last an evening of dancing in 12cm heels with very little platform but then, she’s Irish so maybe there are other things helping her out too. When our doctor mentioned this unusual perk of graduated compression, and showed her the research, she put our VR Clara Hold-Ups to the test and found a 2.5cm difference in the size of her ankles at the end of a day in heels. No cankles here!
Funnily enough, men have less trouble in heels as their calves naturally tend to be more muscular and thus slightly less effected than women’s by the bottleneck in bloodflow which happens at the ankle.
Believe it or not, compression socks or tights can help you stay more comfortable in your heels by aiding the bloodflow and reducing the pooling and thus the swelling in the ankles and legs!
Now there’s a new use for those flight socks that are hiding in a drawer (just make sure they’re the right fit). Once you’ve felt the difference for yourself or your loved one, come and check out our ranges for something a bit more stylish.