For many of us, shoes equal love. But what do you do when the object of your affections — we’re talking to you, new heels — doesn’t love you back? We’ve all been there: foot pain, blisters and more. To get some answers, we turned to Taryn Rose, M.D., who happens to be one of our speakers for Re:Make 2015 in San Francisco this year (get your tickets here!). Dr. Rose is an orthopedic surgeon-turned-shoe designer with two brands of footwear to her name. One is the super comfy eponymous line Taryn Rose and the other is the newly launched DRESR shoes, which features über-tall Italian leather stilettos and ground-breaking wing technology for extreme comfort and support. Taryn filled us in on what to do about common foot woes, best shoe practices and all the other things we need to know to have healthy, happy feet.
1. Treatment for blisters: Blisters are probably the number one cause of foot pain. The “breaking-in” phase may seem like a fact of life, but Dr. Rose begs to differ. “You should never have to ‘break in’ new shoes with a good quality shoe,” she tells us. But in case you do get a nasty abscess, “Spenco’s Second Skin Blister Pads ($10) work better than Band Aids,” she says. “If you have a blister on the bottom of your foot, a donut-shaped moleskin with the blister in the middle works better since it also relieves the pressure on the blister.” Try Dr. Scholl’s Round Callus Cushions ($3) for those.
2. What to do about calluses: Everyone dreams of having baby-soft feet, but sometimes it’s just not meant to be. “Use a callus softening cream and file down the callus on a regular basis.” You could try O.P.I.’s Pedicure Soften Callus Softener ($25) and Tweezerman’s Two-Sided Pumice Stone ($8) to treat those annoying calluses. “You may want to see a doctor to see if there is an inherent deformity in your foot that causes the callus also,” Taryn advises. “Some people have a bony prominence that rubs against all their footwear, for example.”
3. Prevent bunions at all costs: Bunions are the bony bumps that form on the first joint of your big toe. Some argue that certain people are more genetically prone to have this deformity, while other docs believe bunions are caused by wearing tight-fitting, pointed-toe shoes. “Once you have them, there is no treatment other than surgery,” Dr. Rose warns us. “It is better to prevent them with shoes that have enough volume in the forefoot and good arch support.”
4. Choose your heels wisely: Some jobs (and events) require you to be in heels all day. “We know there are so many women in corporate jobs, and yet shoes are not built for their needs with a combination of functionality and beauty,” Taryn says. “They need to have pressure decreased on their forefoot so they can last longer from desk to dinner and more stability so they can move quickly from meeting to meeting. Outside of our line [The Stacy is pictured above], they can try to look for lower kitten heels, heels with platforms or heels with some cushioning.”
5. Remember to stretch: “People forget to stretch, which is so important for the flexibility of the feet, which have such high demands on them,” she says. “First, start by stretching your Achilles every morning and then stretch your arches. This will prevent tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.” Tendinitis is when a tendon gets painfully swollen from over-exertion, and plantar fasciitis is the stabbing pain in the sole of your foot when the muscle that bands your toes and heel gets inflamed.
6. Shoe storage matters: “The best way is to use a shoe tree to dry out the shoes while maintaining their shape,” she says, like this Johnston & Murphy Cedar Shoe Tree ($40). “If you don’t have shoe trees, you can stuff them with tissue paper.” For a budget-friendly option, pick up a few packs of plain tissue paper from the dollar store. “Shoes, like people, should be given a chance to breathe,” Taryn says.” Your shoes soak up a lot of perspiration, so they need to dry, and keeping a form inside them helps to maintain their shape.”
7. Maintain your shoes: Some shoes you just love. They never hurt or cause blisters, and they make your feet look killer. If you treat these shoes right, “you can keep a pair of shoes forever if they are well-maintained,” says Dr. Rose. When these shoes are looking a little worn around the edges, get them serviced. “A good shoe repairman can resole and repair a heel and maintain the leather upper with regular cleaning and polish,” she tells us. “Invest in your shoes and your feet — the return on investment is good.”
8. Choose the right shoe for the right setting: It may seem trite to say, “There’s a time and place for everything,” but it’s true — even for footwear. “In a professional setting, always [wear] a heel,” Taryn advises, like BCBG’s Gamma Mesh Pump ($167) on the right. “I think you just look and feel more in command with a pair of heels.” But opt for flats in a more casual setting, such as these FINEST Ghillie Flats ($45). “Walking on cobblestones while on vacation, always a flat,” she says. “A heel always is so unstable on the uneven surface of cobblestones. Why focus on your footsteps when you can be looking around at the sites?” But, ever a high heel-lover, Taryns adds, “In general though, as the sun is lower in the sky, the higher your heels should go.” She jokes, “That’s Taryn’s Inverse Law of Heels.”
What do you think about Dr. Taryn Rose’s advice? Tell us in the comments below!