Foot Care for the Party Season

Dr Helena Torpinski|General dermatology
7 December 2019

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Foot care isn’t necessarily top of mind during party season. But we all have our favourite pair of foot-killing but stunning shoes that get a workout at this time of year.

And our poor feet take a beating when we spend a lot of time in fancy shoes.

In this blog, we’re giving you a doctor’s low-down on party season foot care, and how to help your feet keep rocking those Blahnik’s and Choo’s.

Foot care before party day

Start your foot care a few weeks before a big event, moisturising your feet daily. Dry skin is more likely to crack and to develop corns.

The best time to moisturise is after a bath or shower. Regular moisturising will help skin stay supple and prevent a build up of dry skin.

If going from work to an event, rinse feet before changing shoesDry really well, especially between your toes.

Use talcum powder, try to use sockettes if they stay hidden and definitely invest in gel pads to put into high heels shoes. Your metatarsals will love you for it.

Don’t put your party shoes on until the last momentThe rest of the time, exercise superior foot care by wearing flat supportive shoes (Not ballet flats/thongs/bare feet).

Finally, put your feet up (discreetly, if in public) before (and after) the party.

Choosing your shoes

Kitten heels or block heels are less challenging on your connective tissues than thinner, stiletto style heels. This one act of foot care will make a difference in the long run and possibly with the amount of short term pain you feel after a long night wearing them.

Avoid patent leathers as they don’t stretch, so will confine and pressure your feet.

Shoes ought to be of natural fibres or leather, have a small heel, be firmly anchored onto your foot (ie not flop or slap)

If you have orthotics, try to find shoes that allow you to wear them. This isn’t easy in the world of glamorous party shoes, but do your best, and ensure you wear them at all other times if you can’t. This is really important in ongoing foot care.

Chose party shoes with an open toe and ankle straps. These require less effort to move around in and don’t employ unusual muscle angles that can cause strain.

Know how long the event is, how much walking you’ll have to do to get there and home. So care for your feet by choosing shoes that your body can handle walking in for that long. If your bag is big enough, slip in a pair of comfortable shoes for the journey to and from the party.

It’s also helpful to know whether you’ll have chance to sit or be required to stand for the entire event. And whether there’ll be dancing. Choose the party shoes that will allow you to move comfortably for the duration of the event.

Oprah once confirmed that she had a whole range of shoes which were her shoes for shows that required her only to sit …she wouldn’t wear them if she had to stand or walk around. Be sensible like Oprah – some shoes are better used for sitting events, some for standing and dancing.

Regardless of sitting or standing, avoid shoes with heels over 7cm high. This is where foot care becomes foot-focused medical advice. Heels of this height (or greater) change the biomechanics of your posture and movement. When wearing such high heels, your stride shortens, walk slows, weight is shifted to the ball of your foot, your centre of gravity changes. All of this stresses your knees and lower back.

You know your limits. If your gorgeous party shoes cripple you, every moment of the party could be indelibly burned into your memory with painstaking clarity. You also don’t want to look like a giraffe slipping on ice cubes, so make a smart shoe choice.

Finally,  and not surprisingly, how much body weight we carry makes a difference, so pay attention to obesity, diabetes and how ageing is changing your feet’s ability to carry you well. So care for your feet by choosing shoes that make sense for your body.

While wearing your party shoes

Posture plays a part in your general foot health and happiness. Pay attention to to how you’re standing and shift your weight from your toes to your heels, which moves the weight back on to joints that better bear it, like the ankle.

Pull in on your tummy muscles, tuck in your tail bone and lift your chest bone a little. This will bring your centre of gravity back to midline, and ease up the strain on your feet.

Gel pads reduce bruising to the ball of your foot, relieve pressure and reduce the burning sensation that comes after a long time on your feet. The silicone also holds your foot steadier in the shoe so your feet aren’t sliding forward as much. This will protect your toes from friction and blisters.

Gel cushions are available for different foot problem areas from heels to toes to the ball of your foot. Use them. They truly are a caring and loving choice for your feet.

Foot care after the party

After the party, show your ultimate care for your feet and sit down in front of the TV, turn on Netflix and get a bucket of warm water with some salt in it (table sale will do, though you may prefer the luxury of a Himilayan pink salt that is reported to have more minerals and benefits such as relieving muscle cramping). Soak your feet for a generous period of time. You may like to add some essential oil or other scented product to help with relaxing the feet and body.

This will soften and deodorise your feet, ease their sore muscles and joints, and allow you to get up and do the same again the next night.

Roll a bottle of frozen water under your feet to relieve the burning or sore soles of your feet.

Soak in a nice smelling salt bath. Put your feet up higher than your head for a period while bathing, to help relieve the aching.

Massage your feet with nourishing moisturiser to revive and rejuvenate. All the better if you have someone who’ll do this for you! Massage not only feels great but it reduces stress & tension and increases blood flow & circulation.

Feel often develop a burning sensation when they’ve experience too much pressure. This means you’ve simply worked your feet too hard. Try to feel when your feet are communicating that they need a rest, and sit down or go home and put them up. A pillow or two under the feet while watching some tv or reading a book will help.

The longer term effects of party shoes

Hard skin on your feet is caused by a build up of skin cells around pressure points. These areas of thickened and discoloured skin are formed as a result of the feet carrying our body weight every day.

High heels funnel that weight onto certain parts of the foot, resulting in significant build up of hard skin in certain areas like the ball of the foot and the base of the big toe.

Make an apt with your podiatrist who can remove some of this build up and also check for general foot health.

Bruising and damage to toe nails can happen, which may cause the nail to fall off or be disfigured for an extended period.

One of our staff once tripped slightly in her high heels, stepping one heel onto her other big toe, and had a huge nail bruise for months afterward.

Later in life, the dedicated party shoe wearer may experience bruised metatarsals, bunions and hammer toes. These may be treatable but are often quite painful. See your podiatrist if you’re experiencing these. 

As feet age they also lose some of their elasticity, joints lose their springiness and muscles lose strength. This can affect how easily your body can handle higher heels. Also, feet spread and lose their fat pads, which act like natural cushions. This means shoes can hurt more.

Finally, tripping or falling while in heels can not only be embarrassing but falling at the wrong angle can seriously damage your ankles, knees or hips. Serious ankle damage can result in needing pins and locked bone braces that are set to 90 degrees, for the rest of your life.

So make sure your shoes are really worth the risk, and the less steady you are, the less you should be walking around, specially on uneven surfaces like streets, foot paths or stairs.

We hope you engage our foot care tips and enjoy a foot-happy party season.