Heel Thyself: 3 Stretches For High Heel Lovers

Back light silhouette of a woman resting with feet taking off shoes on a couch at home with a window in the background

The perfect pair of heels can help set off your look, but at what cost? Wearing high heels may cost you more in the long run because of the side effects to your health. Women often make sacrifices for foot fashion, but studies have shown that these four, five and six-inch shoes can be costly in more ways than one. They take their toll on your spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet, while altering your posture.

But regular stretching of the foot and calves will loosen hamstrings and work to alleviate some of the pain, pressure and effects from your high heels. Stretching before and after long periods in heels and sneaking in some foot work during breaks in your day will help as well.

Here are three foot stretching exercises that can help:

I. The “Cute Shoe” Stretch:

– Lay a book with a one-inch spine on the floor.
– While standing, place the ball of your right foot on the book and rest your heel on the ground.
– Bend forward at the waist and try to grab the toes on the book. (If you need to bend your knees a little, that’s OK).
– Hold for 30 seconds.
– Switch feet. Repeat two to three times.
– Gradually increase the height of the book by 1-inch increments per week to a maximum of 3 inches.

II. The “My Dogs Are Barking” Towel Foot Stretch:
– This move loosens up your calves and provides relief to the soles of your feet.
– Sit on the floor and stretch both of your legs out in front of you.
– Bend your left leg and keep your right leg stretched out on the floor.
– Using a hand towel with each end in one of your hands place the ball of your right foot in the center of the towel.
– Pull back on the towel towards your chest while keeping the right leg straightened.
– To intensify the stretch begin to bend the right knee slightly.
– Hold for 10-15 and then repeat with the other foot.

III. The “Two Part” Ankle Strengthening Exercises:

These two stretches are aimed at strengthening your ankles so as to be less affected by the wear and tear from wearing high heels.
Ankle lifts: Tie a belt or similar sized piece of rope around both ends of a light dumbbell, so it forms a…