Why Elizabeth Hurley has given up on daytime heels

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 03: Elizabeth Hurley attends the
Elizabeth Hurley says she 'ruined' her feet after wearing high heels nearly every day for 30 years. (Getty Images)

Once upon a time, Elizabeth Hurley and sky-high heels went together like bread and butter - but those days are long gone, the iconic model has revealed.

Hurley, 58, said that after she tore the ligaments in her left ankle while filming in the Caribbean in November 2021, she was unable to wear high heels for a year.

In a new interview published in The Telegraph, the Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery star said she "shouldn’t be wearing heels" even today because of the extent of her injury.

She added that she "ruined [her] feet… by 30 years of prancing around in heels", which she described as a "stupid thing to do".

"I don’t wear heels in the daytime now and actually it is so much nicer, it’s much more comfortable," she admitted. "I can walk for miles - it’s great!

"So in fact, although my injury was a hideous one, I really think it changed my life - because I am much more mobile during the day, when I’m not towering in shoes. What a stupid thing to do for years!"

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Elizabeth Hurley attends the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
These days, Elizabeth Hurley reserves wearing high heels for special events - such as the 2024 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. (Getty Images)

Day to day, Hurley said she wears "a lot of athleisure and Ugg boots" around the house to stay comfortable. Elsewhere in the interview, she revealed that she no longer has the patience for uncomfortable clothing as well.

"Back in the day, I would suffer all night with things digging in," she recalled. "I mean, there were many times when I’d get home and there’d be blood from boning digging in or waistbands garrotting me.

"I can’t do that any more. I won’t do that any more."

Although it can be fun to wear high heels, long-term use can lead to musculoskeletal issues and damage to both your feet and your body.

Studies have shown significant association between musculoskeletal pain and bunions in frequent high heel use. Wearing heels also places a lot of pressure on the front of your foot, with heels over five inches placing the greatest strain on the body.

Christophe Champs, consultant at PODO Orthotics and Biomechanics, explained that wearing heels higher than two inches can be harmful to your toes, knees and back.

When walking in heels, our posture changes in order to stay balanced. But this altered posture “places excess force on the inside of the knee”, he said, adding that the knee is a common site of osteoarthritis among women.

"One study found that knee joint pressure increased by as much as 26% when a woman wears high heels," he said.

Asian woman feet pain wear high heel shoes. Young woman feeling ache because of wearing high heels in office. Female with sore feet taking off high heels at home
Wearing high heels every day can cause a number of issues, including musculoskeletal problems, bunions, and worsened plantar fasciitis. (Getty Images)

Your back also suffers from wearing high heels for long periods of time. "Heels higher than two inches push the centre of gravity in the body forward, taking the hip and spine out of natural alignment. Therefore, high heels may increase the risk of arthrosis, which can be very painful."

People who wear high heels regularly may also find that their Achilles tendon - located at the back of the ankle - becomes tight, thickened and shortened. This can result in injuries to the Achilles tendon, which can cause inflammation and severe pain.

Wearing high heels can also worsen plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue at the sole of the foot that is close to the heel.

Experts advise wearing high heels only for special occasions. If you prefer wearing high heels for everyday use, Bethany Aitken, clinical services manager at AXA Health, recommended wearing heels that are no higher than 3cm (1¼”).

"Wear your heels for as short a period as possible, taking them off when you need to walk longer distances or when you’re sitting, and carry some flat, supportive shoes to change into," she advised.

If you’ve been walking around in high heels all day, there are some stretches you can do to help ease any pain and lengthen the muscles in your feet and legs.

Ankle circles: Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your ankle clockwise and counterclockwise. Repeat for 30 seconds and switch to the other foot.

Arch stretch: Sit down and cross one foot over the opposite knee. Pull your toes back gently towards your shin to stretch the arch of your foot. Hold for 20 seconds and do the same with the other foot.

Calf raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly lift your heels off the ground so you are balancing on the balls of your feet. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly lower your heels back down. Do this 10 times.

Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall or the back of a chair and place your hands on the wall or the chair. Take a step back with one foot. Bend the front knee and make sure both feet are flat on the floor. Lean forward gently to stretch the calf and the Achilles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to the other side.

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