Christmas and New Year's parties should have us dancing the night away, but amid the bubbles, karaoke and Secret Santa gifts is that pesky foot pain from having to keep those sparkly stilettos on for hours on end.
High heels look great but can be painful, and so to help we have put together top tips for being able to walk (and dance) in heels without pain. Check out our tips so you can party pain-free!
How to stop heels hurting your toes
Many people have lauded the method of taping toes to wear heels, and Osteopath Anisha Joshi of Woodside Clinic Regent Street has confirmed that this is a useful way to reduce pain.
Chatting to HELLO!, she said: "They say you should tape your 3rd and 4th toes together as it takes the pressure off the ball of your foot. There is a nerve that splits between these two toes and by limiting the pressure placed on it, it can reduce the sensation of pain."
How can you make your most deadly heels comfier?
Shoe expert Dr Naomi Braithwaite of Nottingham Trent University revealed that a good fit and a little help from gel insoles can go a long way.
She told HELLO!: "Gel insoles can be delightful on the soles of the feet, particularly if you are going to be wearing at an occasion when standing is on the agenda. Ultimately fit is key so it is important to have heels that fit well and that have a padding in between the inner sock and sole of the shoe."
She also suggested that going for a platform with your high heel, or a shorter heel, can drastically change your comfort levels, explaining: "Choose to wear a height that is manageable, this is pretty subjective, but having a less high heel or a platform sole can make a huge difference to comfort."
Anisha agreed, and advised to "get platform shoes that also have a heel under the ball of the foot to reduce the gradient of the foot".
How does a thicker heel or a platform help?
Dr Naomi explained: "When you wear a high heel there is a huge amount of pressure bearing down on the soles of the feet, so a platform sole underneath can diffuse the pressure. There is more padding between the foot and the pavement. Thick heels can be more comfortable for walking than stilettos, as again there is more surface area for the pressure."
What high heels should you wear if you have flat feet?
Naturally, wearing high heels is harder for people with flat feet, but this doesn't mean you need to stick to ballet pumps forever! Dr Naomi explained that a wedge would definitely be the most helpful for you since they can keep your foot on the same level more or less, making heels much less painful.
Preparation is key
To wear high heels without pain, Carnation Footcare's Podiatrist Dave Wain has suggested that the most defence is to be prepared. If you know you are wearing heels that tend to hurt your feet after a certain amount of time, stock your bag with everything you need to help.
He said: "Go prepared – have in your bag some first aid supplies to deal with potential foot problems before they get too painful i.e. sticky plasters for cuts, damaged toenails or bleeding blisters, anti-blister treatments for rubbing areas."
You could even also carry a pair of foldable flat shoes with you, just in case the heels prove too much at the end of the evening!
Foot exercises to help with the pain
As well as suggesting Carnation Footcare's Gel Cushions, Dave suggested strengthening your feet and toes before a night out.
He said: "Consciously straightening them and wiggling [your toes] can really help. You can also increase your foot flexibility, which will help your feet to cope in heels by following these steps: Stand facing a wall about 2 feet away. Place one foot against the wall, 3/4 inches from the floor, keeping your heel on the floor. Gently move your knee towards the wall until you feel slight stretching. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times, and then do the same with the other foot."
Tips to get used to high heels
Wear your heels around the house before a night out to get a feel for them. This is particularly helpful while breaking in a new pair of stilettos, as you can suss out where the shoes might rub.
One way to deal with this is to put on thick socks with your shoes before a night out and blow dry the area where the shoes might rub for half a minute, which would help the shoe to expand and stretch.
Another method is to fill plastic bags with water and place them in your shoes, then put them in a freeze. The ice will help stretch out the shoes, making those nasty rubbing blisters a thing of the past!