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Arches

The arch of your foot represents your spine, so any shoes you wear can cause tension in your back. It’s recommended to wear shoes with an arch that will work with the shape of yours. On the plus side, you can release the strain by holding your foot with both hands – thumbs underneath, fingers on top – and gently twisting from the heel up. So whether you prefer kitten heels or stilettos, it’s instant relaxation guaranteed.

Bubble baths

There’s no denying the instant calm of a bubble bath. That’s because warm water helps to soothe tired and aching muscles – especially after a long day or night on your feet. Heels cause muscles in your legs to tighten due to the unnatural position of the foot, making it easier for you to balance. Thankfully, having a bath works as pampering prep as much as it does post-party, so you’ve always got a reason for a little self-indulgence.

Calves

On the plus side, high heels aid that all-important calf muscle definition that normally requires hours at the gym. On the down side, they can cause the shortening of muscles and your Achilles tendon to tighten. No worries though – all you need to do is a little stretching and massaging with a roller to improve flexibility. While we can’t promise you’ll have the legs of a supermodel, it might make your downward dog easier at your morning-after yoga class.

Dry Skin

The dreaded curse of footwear (ok, maybe second next to bunions) but don’t panic, your feet can still look good without flaking. Unfortunately, dry skin is caused by friction so it can happen whether you’re wearing thigh-high boots or flip-flops but fear not, there is a cure. A good foot moisturiser is your holy grail. Look for natural ingredients such as Neroli oil and Aloe Vera, as these will help to soothe your soles as well as provide a much-needed dose of hydration.

Elevation

It’s safe to say that swelling is definitely not sexy. However, if you find that partying all night in platforms has left you a little, well, puffy, sitting upside down might just be the answer. No, really. Elevating your feet above your heart and doing a gentle cycling movement forwards and backwards five times, followed by some rest in that position, will release pressure in your lymph nodes, veins and capillaries. Follow with stretches like curling your toes under and lengthening the foot, and you’ll be back to normal in no time.

Fit

So the saying goes that if the shoe fits, wear it. And there really is nothing more true. If your footwear is the wrong size or width it causes discomfort elsewhere in the body including the knees, spine and neck. Not to mention that squeezing your toes into some too-small pumps might leave you with dreaded ingrown toenails. Don’t be that woman who can’t walk in her heels – get measured for the right size, go forth, and strut.

Ground work

Throughout the month of December, the average woman spends a whopping 430 hours in high heels. So, if you still want to be standing when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve then prep is key. Put a monthly date in your diary to see a podiatrist or chiropodist to keep your foot health top-notch. They’ll advise you on the best way to look after your feet by assessing your lifestyle. And above all else, you’ll still be able to rock your party shoes come January.

Homemade Scrub

Make your own foot scrub at home for a DIY pamper sesh. You can use ingredients that are already in your cupboard such as salt, sugar, coconut oil and essential oil, just mix one cup of granules with ½ cup of oil and stir it up so it’s all mixed together. Rub into your skin using gentle circular motions (see Massage Points for the places to work into). Not only will it provide gentle exfoliation, the oils will soften and moisturise as well as soothe aching muscles.

Increased pressure

There’s no denying that sometimes your feet are subjected to extreme angles in high-heeled shoes. Which in turn leads to increased pressure not only on the balls of your feet but on your kneecaps too. To keep yourself nimble and ready for all the events in your social calendar, opt for flats during the day and save vertiginous heights for evening. Moderation is key to ensure that your feet feel good when they’re being put through their paces.

Joy of health

It’s safe to say that the better condition your feet are in, the more you can enjoy wearing a variety of shoes – not just high heels. By paying attention to your foot health, you’ll reap the benefits elsewhere in your body, from the relief of back pain and better posture to improved flexibility and a calmer mind. Add some daily and weekly checks into your diary – from a daily soak to a weekly scrub and monthly appointment with a podiatrist and reflexologist.

Knees

Heel and foot pain might be all too familiar but wearing high shoes can affect your knees too. If you’ve neglected your kneecaps recently there’s an easy solution to leave them feeling attended to. Massaging the small protruding bone on the outside edge of each hand (between your little finger and wrist) with a firm circular motion is very effective when it comes to relieving tension in the knees. The perfect tip for when you’re wearing OTK boots and can’t be bothered to take them off.

Legs

When it comes to wearing high-heeled shoes, it’s important to look after your legs as much as your feet. Because we hate to break it to you, but it’s the only way to keep varicose veins at bay. The solution? Doing heel raises when sitting and standing to prevent pooling and strain. Also, by wearing supportive tights or stockings you can aid your leg health while also beating the winter chill.

Massage Points

There’s plenty of reflexology techniques you can do at home, particularly for the toes and ankles. Apply gentle pressure in circular motions across the metatarsals and balls of your feet, the same goes for toes, just gently pull and rotate each one. Plus, you can turn your ankles clockwise and counter-clockwise to ease any tightness or tension and leave your feet feeling instantly better.

Night

After a long day on the go, there’s nothing better to rejuvenate your feet than with a good soak made up of warm water, Epsom salts and lemon essential oil. Not that you ever needed an excuse to cancel your plans for a night in. The ultimate wind-down ritual, a foot soak will relieve tired and aching muscles as well as promote circulation through the strengthening of leg veins.

Optimism

Healthy feet mean a healthy mind. Reflexology promotes a state of wellbeing due to the deep connections between your body and mind being activated when pressure is applied to your reflex points. A single hour-long session is all it takes to kick-start a healthier and happier you. As well as being a deeply relaxing process thanks to the release of tension, the calming sense it brings will last well beyond your appointment.

Posture

All your life you’ve probably had your mum nagging at you about your posture – but she had a point. And wearing high-heeled shoes only makes it harder to maintain a straight back due to the way they affect your balance. The answer? No, it’s not balancing a book on your head, but regular reflexology. It will relieve various parts of the body as well as clear any misalignment of the spine, keeping you feeling strong and healthy enough to wear heels whenever you like.

Quality

Not that we ever needed an excuse to buy another pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes – it is, after all, the most popular brand on Lyst for heels– but high-quality footwear makes all the difference when it comes to your foot health. If your shoes are well-made and well-fitted, it means you’ll be able to wear them more frequently as your feet will be in much better shape. Look for shoes that are made from luxurious materials like soft leather or suede, as well as finished with details like hand-stitching.

Reflexology Points

Your body is full of reflex points that are all interconnected, so applying certain pressure to these areas will not only revitalise your feet, but your body and mind too. By applying pressure to these places on the feet, a response deep within your nuclear cells is activated. The result is the relief of pain, imbalances, and disorders, leaving you, and your feet, feeling happier and healthier.

Shin Splints

Another dreaded disadvantage but one that can also be fixed. Wearing ill-fitting footwear, walking on hard surfaces, and fallen arches can all cause shin splints. Thankfully, shoes that have cushioned insoles or shock-absorbing qualities can help prevent it. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you should start investing in your grandma’s orthopaedic flats. There’s plenty of luxury designers that make high-fashion heels with padded in-steps like Jimmy Choo, Stuart Weitzman, and Manolo Blahnik.

Toes

Whether standing, walking, or dancing in heels, your toes can end up taking the brunt of it. Every step you take uses a complex network of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons, which is why your feet can be susceptible to problems. Be proactive by using a footsie roller once a day to keep your feet feeling supple. Finish off with a slick of nail polish to make sure your toes are always ready to be shown off.

Undertake

A major part of foot health comes down to groundwork. Commit yourself to a daily routine of washing and primping your feet to keep them clean, dry and free from any ailments. Keeping nails straight and short will also prevent any further problems and make it easier to slip your heels on and off without any pinching. It’s also another excuse to treat yourself to a regular pedicure (not that you actually need any reason for a pampering session).

Vitamins

We all know that calcium is the key nutrient for building up bone strength, and it turns out that vitamin D helps your body to absorb all of its benefits. Our bodies create vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight, but obviously not all of us live in sunny climes. If you can’t justify bi-monthly trips to exotic locations to get your hit, Vitamin D can also be consumed either through diet or supplements. Trust us, your bones will be much stronger for it, meaning you can last longer in your favourite pair of heels.

Wear heels, but take a break

Make sure your shoe collection has a variety of heights in it to give your feet a break from wearing really high heels all the time. Have a range of ballet flats, sneakers and heeled boots on rotation alongside kitten heels, stilettos and wedges. Giving your feet a break from extreme heights will prevent severe strain in particular places and ensure all-round foot health.

X-Factor

When it comes to foot health, reflexology is the X-Factor. Massages, soaks and pedicures will keep your feet feeling good, but you still need to throw some reflexology into the mix. Alongside some simple prep you can do at home, reflexology will not only transform your feet, but also the rest of your body thanks to its therapeutic benefits. Not only will people be asking where you got your amazing new shoes from (Lyst, obviously) but what your secret is to lasting all night in 5-inch stilettos.

Yoga for feet

There are plenty of reflexology techniques that can easily be done by yourself at home. Think of it as yoga for your feet. By dedicating a time slot each day to your foot health and doing some simple exercises and stretches, you’ll instantly feel much more relaxed and restored. The best thing? They can be done anytime and anywhere that’s convenient for you, whether at home, the office, or on a night out.

Z

Zzz

While the winter season may be the hardest time to catch some z’s, what with all the parties and events, the more sleep you get, the more you’ll actually feel like staying up all night. A deep and adequate amount of rest helps to restore not just your feet, but your body and mind too. Using reflexology to work into the pineal and adrenal glands will help to promote a relaxed state. It’s best to see a professional to guide you with this but once you’ve been shown the technique it can be easily replicated at home.

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