Gwyneth Paltrow has a new website called Goop which provides advice on everything from self-discovery to health and fitness. Recently she posted a 5 step solution for high heel wearer. I have to provide a disclaimer. I don't normally take advice from an actress nor do I advocate wearing high heels, however, I'm passing along this information to you because I know I can't stop you from wearing them or other bad shoes.
The advice actually comes from a former ballerina and physical therapist. These are billed as prevention strategies for many different kinds of foot problems including problems that come from wearing high heels. I can't validate how well they work, but they probably won't hurt you. Just let your doctor know if you plan to do them.
1. Intrinsic muscle stretch
Slip the fingers of the opposite hand in between your toes, as if you were to “shake hands” with your foot. Use fingers 2-5 to do this and leave your thumb out. By just holding your toes in this position, you will be stretching the muscles in between the long bones (metatarsals) of your foot. Hold for 30 seconds.
Claim: Helps prevent hammertoes, bunions, neuromas and stretch fractures
2. Foot and ankle extensors stretch
Kneel down on both knees. Place a rolled up hand towel on the floor under your feet. Position the towel just under where your toes meet the top of your foot. Gently sit your hips back onto your heels until you feel a pull across the top of your feet and ankles. You may also feel the stretch up along the front of your shins. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat twice.
Claim: Helps prevent stress fractures
3. Peroneals stretch
Lie on your back and place a strap around the ball of your foot. Lift your leg up while keeping the other leg down and extended along the floor. Pull your toes back towards you and then turn your foot inwards. Hold the strap with the opposite hand of the leg you are stretching. Try to bring your leg up and over, as if your foot is pointing up toward your opposite shoulder. In this position you should feel a stretch along the outside of your shin, your peroneal muscles. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Claim: Prevents poor foot alignment and foot and ankle joint dysfunction
4. Calf stretch
Stand in a lunge position with your hands against the wall, the front leg bent and the back leg fully extended. Position your back leg with a slight toeing-in posture. Make sure your heel stays connected to the ground. It should feel like you’re reaching your heel into the ground while maintaining your hips square to the wall and your back knee straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Claim: Prevents plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, (I can validate that patients with both of these conditions will benefit from doing this exercise and it's important to do this stretch regularly to prevent these problems in the future.)
5. FHL stretch
Position your big toe up against a door frame or small ledge of the wall and slide it down so that the big toe is pointing upwards and the ball of the foot is trying to touch the floor. The other toes should be free and stretched out flat along the floor. Bend your knee and keep your heel on the ground. Make sure that as much of your big toe as possible is making contact with the wall and not just the very tip of it.
Claim: Prevents tendonitis or big toe problems
As a Seattle podiatrist I want to let you know that regardless of the type of shoes you wear if you're experiencing foot pain don't wait to get it checked out. Contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.