Kim Kardashian isn’t your average mom-to-be, I get it, but some of her footwear choices of late, as she inches closer and closer to her due date, concern me. Maintaining her level of glam during these precious 40 weeks have often meant cramming her poor, swollen tootsies into shoes that look painful for women even when they aren’t pregnant.
I consulted with podiatrist and foot biomechanics expert Phillip Vasyli, who is the founder of Orthaheel and Dr. Weil Integrative Footwear, to find out just how harmful the wrong types of heels can be for a pregnant woman’s body.
“Relaxin, the hormone that causes pelvic and cervical expansion during pregnancy, also can damage feet resulting in heel pain, metatarsal expansion, collapsing of the arch, knee pain and plantar fasciitis,” says Phillip. “Wearing proper, supportive footwear can help support the transition of the feet and prevent common injury and pain.”
Additionally, he explains the dramatic weight gain during pregnancy adds force on the feet, stressing the arch of the foot which can result in a sharp, shooting pain in the heels that a woman will feel upon her first steps after rolling out of bed.
But have no fear, Kim, Phillip says you don’t have to completely toss those heels.
“If Kim must wear high heels for additional height, she should consider wearing wedges, which provide much-needed arch contact,” he advises. “The larger amount of surface area helps distribute body weight over the entire foot, which relieves painful pressure from the ball of the foot.”
In fact, for women who have pronating feet (the inward roll of the foot while walking or running), which causes uneven distribution of weight while walking, Phillip says a slightly raise heel can alleviate the problem, but the ideal heel height varies by person depending on their height, weight and occasion.
“I recommend Kim aim for about a half-inch to 1-inch-high heel,” says Phillip. “ To maintain a fashionable edge, 2.5 inches to 3 inches is also a good height. If you walk in anything higher than 3 inches, your normal gait will be affected.”
Phillip’s own line, Orthaheel, offers orthotic technology he says is well-suited for pregnant women. They help realign feet to a natural, neutral position by supporting the foot and reducing pronation.
When heels are simply a fashion necessity, the footwear guru has another suggestion.
“I also recommend that Kim slip in slim-fit orthotics when she does have to wear high heels, as they contour to the foot and provide support at this high level,” he says. “There is a misconception that you have to wear orthotics in clunky shoes, which is not true. Orthaheel's slim-fit orthotics support the metatarsal bones and help to provide effective relief from the ball-of-foot pain, metatarsalgia, Morton's Neuroma, as well as painful bunions, corns and calluses.”
Could you give up your sky-high heels while pregnant? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @OKMagazine.