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Combination of heels & flats is bad for your feet

July 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
When wearing super high heels, many women will carry along a pair of flip-flops or slippers to change in and out of. While this might seem like a good idea, podiatrists say it's bad for your feet.

"When you're wearing a high heeled shoe, your Achilles tendon and hamstrings are getting shortened so you don't want to go really to a very low shoe," said Dr. Franklin Kase.

The Burbank podiatrist says going from high shoes to flats with absolutely no support daily is more damaging to your Achilles tendon than just wearing the heels all day.

"Well, I bet it's disappointing for a lot of people who think they're doing better for their feet. It seems like a smart idea, but I guess it's not," said Susan Street.

So instead of flip flops, what should you be wearing? Dr. Kase says look for something with a wide toe box, something that's flexible at the ball of the feet, and something with firm heel and arch support.

"You want to have good support and stability, that supports the arch of the foot, that supports the heel of the foot," said Dr. Kase.

Financial Advisor Julie Foong rarely wears shoes with less than a three-inch heel. Her feet pay for it at the end of the day, but she says padded inserts help.

"They do give extra support. And if you've got shoes that are a little bit bigger, they fill in that gap," she said.

But experts say women are fooling themselves.

"They may cushion it, but functionally, once you go over two inches in height, you can't control the motions in the foot anymore," said Dr. Kase.

For high heel lovers, he recommends Achilles tendon stretching exercises several times a day or don't wear them. Another pain relieving exercise Dr. Kase recommends is standing on the edge of a book with your tip-toes and stretching your heel down.

He says totally flat shoes are just as bad for your feet has high ones. He recommends wearing supportive shoes with about an inch heel.


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