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Healthy Tips for Sporting Holiday Heels

Heels are a part of many women’s wardrobes. From an aesthetic standpoint they make a person look taller, and they make many people stand straighter, lift the chest, and accentuate people’s figures. Heels tend to increase the arch in the wearers low back significantly. Because of this, and how they tend to strain the feet, there can be significant drawbacks. There is good research that links heels and low back pain, injuries from falls and sprains, and bunions. Generally, the higher the heel the greater the problems that are associated with wearing them…

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Exercises & Tips!

So You Want/Need to Wear Heels? Time to Cross Train your Feet!

Below are 4 Exercises will train your feet and ankle stabilizers and can be done anywhere!

1. Heel Raises: 10 - 30 reps

• While barefoot, raise up onto the balls of the feet, keeping your weight predominately over the first and second toes (not letting the foot roll outwards).

  • Hold this for 30 seconds, standing still or practicing walking around in this position.
  • Descend back onto your heels and repeat the exercise until your legs start to burn.

2. Soleus and Calf Stretch: 2 -3 reps

Stretch your calf muscles well after doing the heel raise exercise above.

Stair Stretch: Stand on a stair with the ball of the foot only on the stair.

  • Lower your heels until you feel a stretch,
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
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No Time? - Do these “Under The Table foot Exercises”:

3. The Point and Flex:


  • Start with your toes strongly flexed.
  • Point your foot until you feel a strong contraction in the muscles on the sole of the foot
  • Hold the contraction for several seconds.
  • This exercise will strengthen your plantar flexors and fascias


  • Pull your toes up toward your knees until you feel the muscles on the front of the leg working and a stretch in the back of your leg
  • Hold this stretch for 10 seconds
  • This will stretch and hydrate the muscles and fascias on the sole of the foot.
  • Repeat this point flex sequence 10 - 30 times

4. ankle circles:

  • Make circles with your foot
  • Make several circles in each direction

5 Tips If you must wear heels:

  • Take your shoes off whenever possible during the day.
  • “Cross train" with flats at home and on weekends.
  • Wear the lowest heels possible. (-Typically, the higher the heel the more issues they cause.)
  • Buy the most comfortable shoes possible.
  • Make sure there is enough room for your toes!
  • Buy heels that have a stable (larger) heel when possible. This may prevent falls and muscular fatigue in the ankle and foot.

Coming to Class? Here’s How to Treat Your Feet

Before after your Mat or Barre Class:

Slant Board Stretch:

Mat: stand on one of our calf stretchers that you will find at every station in the mat room. Not only will you stretch your calves but you will also be helping your gait and ankle stability!

Goal: be able to stand with knees straight and upper body leaned slightly forward.

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Reformer & Chair: Both the reformer and chair are amazing at helping your reach your goal of more toned and balanced leges. Simply show up and pay attention to how your are moving through your feet and ankles and your results should be great!

Want to know More?:

Attend the Fun Fatigue Free Feet Master Class or an intensive to build your skills and knowledge. SEE SCHEDULE/SIGN UP

A word from a podiatrist...

According to Podiatrist Emily Smith


According to Emily Smith and Australian Podiatrist: “The dominant duo responsible for high heel pain is ankle instability (often associated with fatigue, causing foot, ankle and leg pain) and the significant peak in forefoot pressure (usually causing burning pain in the ball of the foot).

In a nutshell, the higher and narrower the heel, the greater activation is required by key muscles to stabilize the foot and ankle. When the primary stabilization muscles fatigue, the secondary muscles overcompensate. When fatigued, muscles lose the ability to produce appropriate stability, putting the wearer at risk of injury, and/or causing the wearer to hail a cab.”

As you can see pesky “stabilizing muscles” that we always talk about at the studio are once again considered important. Activating and maintaining the stabilizers in your feet and ankles is the key to not just relieving foot pain but improving your whole body.

Want to bring your feet to a new level: Add more reformer!

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Eur Spine J. 2015 Jun;24(6):1274-81. doi: 10.1007/s00586-015-3857-6. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

High-heeled-related alterations in the static sagittal profile of the spino-pelvic structure in young women.

Dai M1, Li X, Zhou X, Hu Y, Luo Q, Zhou S.

Author information



Women wearing high-heeled shoes have been considered to be more characterizing beauty, self-assurance and elegance. However, while maintaining the body on this type of support base, women with increased heel height often complain that wearing high-heeled shoes causes them to experience low back pain. The aim of the present study was to morphologically assess the effect of high-heel use on the static sagittal profile of the spino-pelvic structure.


A total of 21 Chinese girls were recruited in this study, with informed written consent. For each participant, standing left lateral radiographs, including that of the spine and pelvis, were obtained in a standardized standing position under barefoot and high-heel use conditions. The radiographic assessments were performed to detect the changes in the spino-pelvic profile under barefoot and high-heel use conditions.


The average lumbar lordosis (LL) was 54.3 ± 6.4º under the barefoot condition and increased to 65.2 ± 5.1º after high-heel use (P < 0.001), with a significant increase in the disc L5/S1 and disc L4/L5 tilt angles. Of the 21 participants, 15 (71.43 %) had an increased kyphosis value for thoracic kyphosis, and 6 (28.57 %) had a decreased value after high-heel use, with a significant increased mean kyphosis value of 3.4 ± 1.5º overall (P < 0.001). The sagittal vertical axis (SVA) was always positive and was worse after high-heel use (P = 0.012): 11.5 ± 8.7 mm under the barefoot condition and 29.8 ± 8.5 mm under the high-heel use condition. Bivariate correlation analysis showed that both ΔLL and ΔSVA were positively associated with the heel height of the shoes and were inversely associated with the age of the participants. Receiver operator characteristic analysis showed that a heel height >45.5 mm was strongly predictive of the loss of static sagittal balance of the spine during high-heel use (sensitivity 87.5 %, specificity 62.5 %, area under the curve: 0.773; P = 0.026).


The present study revealed that wearing high-heeled shoes can lead to increased LL and an uneconomic body position. This finding may help explain why some women complain that wearing high-heeled shoes causes them to experience low back pain.

Comment in

PMID: 25753007 DOI: 10.1007/s00586-015-3857-6


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