The pros and cons of wearing heels

Your girlfriends may tell you that strapping your toes into stilettos will boost your confidence, make your legs look longer, give you a skinnier-looking figure or make you look more stylish. But what are the short-term and long-term effects? Is it really worth it – especially if you get a bunion in the process?

A little history …
This was shocking even for me — and trust me, I've heard it all — but high heels have been around since the 1500s. However, it wasn't damsels or Renaissance princesses donning these shoes, it was men. Seriously … you have to chuckle a bit at that fun fact. Oh, the irony! Could it be that males are actually the first humans in history to get bunions from heels? It's highly possible! Despite its slightly amusing past, these painful yet sexy shoes are now one of the fashion features that women especially love to hate.

This really isn't rocket science. We all know why women wear heels – it gives you the idea that you look and feel like a million bucks, especially if you are one of the shorter gals out there. As a bonus, many people believe that these shoes accentuate curves by bringing your chest forward and your waistline back.

Although this is not safe or healthy for your legs – the calf muscles contract and adjust to the angle of high heels. This gives the illusion that you have been working out (even if you have been slacking off at the gym). However, the biggest reason women totter around in heels is because it makes your legs look longer.

The negative effects of stilettos are much less talked about, but I know for a fact that they're alive and well. You know that feeling when you take off your stilettos at the end of the day? That horrible foot pain is not normal, ladies. As much as I hate to admit it – these shoes are killers for foot health and can even cause irreversible damage.

You can easily get hammertoes or bunions since feet are crammed into tight, narrow spaces. However, there is also a risk for ankle sprains, knee and back pain and just plain falling flat on your face.

To save yourself this kind of embarrassment and possible bunion pain, stick with a pair of sexy flats and tone up those legs on the treadmill to look your best.

Why women are more likely to get the bunion blues

It is almost sadly ironic that women bear the brunt of a lot of foot problems out there. Not only do we bear children and pound the pavement while trying to break our industry's glass ceiling, we are inhibited from wearing the shoes we love because of annoying bunions!

Ladies, I have lived with this my whole life … and trust me, things are hard out there for us ladies – especially when it comes to feet. Yes, even our poor toes have to undergo more torment than our male counterparts. This is why my orthotic and a bottle of pain reliever are mainstays in my bathroom closet – and should be part of yours if you are currently suffering from a stubborn, painful bony bump:

• The odds are against you, gals. Most women will develop bunions at some point or another. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 55 percent of women will develop a bunion over the course of their lifetime. Another startling statistic? A whopping 88 percent of women wear shoes that are too small for them! Take it from me – it is worth it to get your feet properly sized – the bunions you might get are definitely not worth it, ladies!
• I hate to be the one to break it to you, friends: But those 5-inch Louboutins have got to go if you are suffering from a bunion. As much as I hate to admit it – most high-end fashion designs don't think about comfort or arch support. Tight, narrow heels can be to blame for your issues, but according to a blog post from Steve Rosenberg on the Huffington Post, acute slopes in shoes can even cause muscle spasms – who wants that?
• It doesn't get any better if you have a bun in the oven, either. In fact, Rosenberg claims that women's feet change dramatically during pregnancy because of a hormone called relaxin. This is good because it allows your foot ligaments to stretch and provide extra support for weight gain, but unfortunately – your flat feet might get bunions, and might never be the same again (but it's all worth it for that bundle of joy, right?)

Women everywhere – take care of your feet as much as your hair, skin or nails. Prevention is key when it comes to bunions, and I don't want your pretty little feet to become a painful statistic!

So long, 2012! Enter: Winter’s worst foot problems

The ball has dropped, I have finally recovered from my hangover from New Year's Eve and have started to get back into the grind of daily life after the hub bub of the holidays. Although I thought rushing around for gifts and dancing the night away a few nights ago was going to to be the main cause of my foot pain, I have Old Man Winter to thank instead.

In case you haven't noticed yet … it's cold! I mean – really, really cold. Although my feet take a beating year-round, my toes are especially tempermental once the temperatures start to drop. Although I have my good ol' orthotics that easily fit into my snug winter boots to help avoid bunions, there is little this device can do to protect my feet from the harsh winter winds.

In lieu of another wave of winters storms headed across the country at the start of 2013, I thought I'd give a few helpful hints about how to keep your feet looking and feeling great during these chilly months that lie ahead:

• This should be common sense to most of you, but make sure to wear warm boots during this time of year … the only thing worse than a bunion is a frostbitten one! I don't know about you guys, but I am planning on staying indoors. However, if you plan on hitting the slopes or braving the ice – make sure to pair those boots with some warm, wool socks.
• If you prefer to be curbside, take caution in walking on sidewalks too. Not all merchants are concerned with salting the outside of their establishments, so it is important to take extra time and care when window shopping.
• According to Daily Glow, cracked heels and flaky skin can making walking less-than-desirable when icy winds begin to blow. Although it isn't pretty, you aren't the only one. Wearing moisturizing socks at night or simply rubbing a cream-based solution – like body butter – on your feet can help keep your toes pretty and soft.
• Everyone knows I love a good pedicure, but even I have had to be careful about soaking my feet for too long. Hot water can zap your skin dry – making the effects of a pedi not seem worth it.

As always, make sure to invest in the right shoes – especially in the winter. Keeping your feet healthy and moisturized now will make your feet look great once swimsuit season (eek!) returns.