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If you’ve ever spent a night wobbling around in a pair of high heels that caused major cramping, you’re not alone—we’ve been there too. Whether it’s from walking, standing, or even just sliding them on, it can often seem like high heels are an ongoing source of pain and misery.

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But, not all heels are created equal, and as chunkier heel styles have risen in popularity, we’ve begun to wonder what are the best types of heels to wear? While our team suspected that a block heel is superior to a stiletto, we needed experts to weigh in once and for all. Are chunky heels actually better for your health?

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When we experience pain while wearing heels, what is happening?

First things first, exactly what causes discomfort? Most heels are produced on an insole construction that pushes the center of gravity forward. By moving the bulk of your weight to the ball of your foot, it can cause pain and inflammation in your feet as well as in your leg muscles and joints.

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Is a chunky heel actually better for your foot?

Doctors agree that a chunkier heel offers better stability, ultimately offering more support. A chunky heel is better for your foot than a stiletto because it has a greater surface area to distribute your body weight across. It is also more stable for people who are prone to ankle sprains and have balance issues.

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And if the pain persists?

As careful as we may be to choose comfortable shoes, the bottom line is that sometimes a great pair of shoes just hurt. Ice the ball of the foot, or look into cushions, which provide a softer surface, but don’t aid in offloading the pressure. Limiting the amount of time standing or walking in heels helps as well.

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Written by Obiajunwa Ugochi

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