“Mommy…” I dragged out the word as I bobbed up and down on my tippy toes.
“Hun ji (Yes).” My mom responded as she ironed my dad’s shirt.
“Could I please have high heels?” I fluttered my eye lashes and danced around her like the little Tasmanian devil I was.
“When you’re older, yes.” She smiled.
My love/hate relationship with heels
It’s pretty clear that heels, especially high ones, are a staple ‘must-have’ accessory in North American culture. The pretty, popular girls in almost every show I watched as a kid wore them.
I don’t know if it’s because my mind has given into main stream fashion norms or if I actually think high heels are hot, but whatever the reason, I think they look pretty darn good.
Before I became ‘old enough’ to wear high heels, I was diagnosed with arthritis. Forget high heels and kitten heels, my rheumatologist was saying no to flats.
They wanted me to wear orthopaedic shoes to ensure that my feet were properly supported to prevent my feet from hurting any more than they already did.
Now, I wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Support for my feet, sure, but orthopaedic shoes, no way I thought. So my doctors and I compromised; I would wear insoles in my shoes. However, those shoes must have some sort of arch support.
Flats don’t have arches.
Why high heels are bad in general
According to Colette Bouchez, high heels alter the natural shape of your foot, which in turn causes pain. When we wear shoes that restrict our feet, they crush that part of our foot and it results in pain. When we add a heel to that equation, it forces all of our weight onto that restricted part and causes even more pain.
Not to mention high heels can:
- Ingrown toenails
- Hammer toe (when the bone of the toe begins to curl underneath)
- A tight calf muscle
4.) Hurt us more as we grow older. As we age, the fatty parts in our feet decrease; this fatty tissue is what helps cushion our feet.
But for people with R.A. it’s worse…
Why high heels are worse for people with rheumatoid arthritis
As discussed above, high heels ‘crush’ your feet and cause pain. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis patients, the joints are already sensitive and need to be well taken care of and monitored closely by doctors. We can see why someone with rheumatoid arthritis would feel even more pain while wearing high heels.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling and inflammation of the joints, and eventually deformities if not taken care of. When we take someone that already has pain in their feet and place them on an unnatural slope, like a high heel, we can see how this ‘crushing’ feeling would be close to unbearable, as it is for me.
On a personal note: It’s hard for me to even walk without shoes. Arthritis has hit my feet the hardest. I make jokes and act like my inability to walk properly is due to poor balance, but really, my feet are just swollen.
Which is why walking on high heels is ridiculously hard for me.
High heels also throw off the alignment off your entire body; they throw off your feet, knees, hips, backs and even shoulders. We can see how this can be an issue for persons with R.A., since it places their joints in an awkward position.
Wearing heels can also cause osteoporosis in later age.
But what if I really, really want to wear them?
Now, as a young adult, I see many of my friends wearing heels. I won’t lie, it gets annoying. At time it doesn’t feel fair, and sometimes I don’t follow my doctor’s orders. I do wear flats and occasionally even kitten heels – can’t do anything more than one inch though.
And it’s the same story every time, by the time I get home and take off my shoes, my feet are killing me. Yes I know, next week at Melissa’s birthday party I’ll probably wear heels or flats again.
I know I’m coming off as a hypocrite; I get that. The reason I feel like it’s important to confess when I break the rules is because everyone probably does it too, and I want you to understand that I know that feeling. The feeling of wanting to wear those 3 inch heels, when I know I can’t and I shouldn’t.
So well, I compromise. I don’t wear heels higher than one inch and I try to wear flats more than I do heels. In return, I wear comfortable boots, without a heel, and insert my orthopaedic insoles everywhere I go. I say boots ‘cause it’s winter time in Cananda, ya know eh!
Since I know wearing high heels can be tempting, let’s compromise.
Tips on wearing heels.
Tips from Colette Bouchez:
1.) Make sure they fit your feet snuggly. Not too tight, not too loose.
2.) Cushion the bajeeberz out of those shoes!
3.) Wear a thicker heel for more blance.
4.) How steep is that slope? Pay attention to the slope of your and think rationally.
5.) Open-toe heels help relieve the pain.
6.) Where a shorter heel, it’s a lot easier to walk in.
7.) Take your heels off and give you feet some time to relax.
8.) Dip your feet in hot water after a long day, it just feels good.
9.) Get heels with a good arch built in.
10.) Try not to buy shoes that restrict your ankles, I did and they killed!
11.) Try not to wear them for more then a few hours. I can, to a max of 2-3 hours.
It’s okay to compromise sometimes! Unless your doctor absolutely says no. Your health should always come before the way you look for one night. My doctor, although she was apprehensive, said okay to wearing them once in a while.
Hope this helps loves, take care!