It’s been a very long time since I updated this journal believing it was fairly much in tact the way it is. Do remember that the contents of this journal belong to me, and copying the concepts to make your … Continue reading
Hahahaha! Not such a seekrit anymore huh?
I’ve decided to show you a little trick for padding your ballet heels for greater toe comfort and to help with heels that are slightly too large for the foot.
Buy a stress ball. What is a stress ball?
These be stress balls above.
Cut Stress Ball into half using either dress making scissors or a cutting blade, however, the long scissors work the best.
Cut halves into half again.
This is what you should have before you:
You will notice a nicely rounded finished edge to your quarter, this side goes toward the front of your ballet heel.
There are two “flat” sides one goes towards the back of the toe section and the top cut part is what you are going to put your toes on.
This will not stop pain all together, but it does give a snugger fit to a too large boot and saves your toes somewhat also. Stress balls are made from a polyurethane substance that has a memory, so no matter how many times you squash them, they always return to their original form. Please note, the shoes I have used to demonstrate the fit don’t actually need the little balls, but it was easier for me to show you what I’m going on about with these ones!
Cross posted to Heels Commando Blog
I was quite surprised to realise how many of you are actually reading this journal.
Today I have updated the links for the pdf files and will go through the journal again to make it easier to locate the files.
Anyway, I hope you can find what you’re after. If not, let me know.
Imelda von Heely Go Lightly Suzanziballetheels (lololol – nom de plumes are just so stupid aren’t they?)
Is it just a feet thing?
Often you will hear people say they can’t wear high heels because of their feet. Most of the horror stories relating to the damage by high heels is related to the foot.
Wearing heels safely just isn’t about the feet. It’s about the whole body condition. The better toned and postured the body, the better chance there will be no injury. If the foot can be placed correctly on the ground, the gait is even and the heel first rolling into the ball and springing off the toes – then there is also less chance of injury when doing that in a heel.
A successful heel wearer is a person who has a strong flexible body with a straight posture. They have control over their body and it shows.
It’s pretty easy to self evaluate.
The harder thing is to correct the issues you have to make things safer for you while wearing your heels.
Lower back problems are an issue and this is due to excess weight, poor posture and a weak abdominal girdle.
Knee pain is caused by a number of factors that include excess weight – causing undue pressure on all joints; overall weak musculature; incorrect placement of the foot and a lack of full extension of the knee before the heel is placed on the ground.
Toe stepping – stepping with more weight to the toe than the heel and stomping – placing whole foot on ground at same time making it impossible to straighten knees) cause jarring and damage to ligament and the precious bones of the feet and the joints of the knees and hips.
Due to poor posture and compensating for new centre of gravity the lower back, shoulder and neck areas come into play also.
A headache or bad neck can be a direct result of the body trying to hold itself in an unnatural position caused by poor foot placement. It starts at the foot with increasing referred pain in the neck, and head.
Some simple facts:
Many people cannot walk properly in bare feet and don’t understand the importance of proper foot to ground contact through the walking cycle.
- Many people have poor posture and don’t understand the plethora of issues that arise from this.
- Too many people carry too much weight – it’s a fact.
- Most people are interested in quick fixes – as indicated by the “pill” mentality and “diet” & “quick fix exercise machine” industries etc.
On the “excess weight” issue:
“…The great pressure transmitted through such a heel (allegedly greater than that exerted by an elephant standing on one foot) can cause damage to carpets and floors. …”
Pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiletto_heel
Despite the obvious issues with excess weight, I believe wholeheartedly that flexibility is more important and that can be gained by any “body” … and I hope to show you how. Yes. I have to concur with what is known about carrying excess weight and damage to joints and such, however as I state, flexibility is important, as is your posture. Weight has nothing to do with this – I’ve known some incredibly flexible folk who carry too much weight.
I’m not here to destroy your body image – I am here to help you use your ballet heels safely.
What I hope to show you over the next few months are a few simple points to consider and a way to help you enjoy your ballet heels as often and as safely as you can.
I will also tell you about my system of foot care because it is truthful that my feet suffer none of the issues that are common from wearing high heels, but there are little things I do to ensure my body is conditioned and therefore less likely to suffer any long term damage. I will share some of these things with you.
There is a lot of information to consider here if you go through the links and read the accompanying texts. The PDF document – Self Evaluation will be “answered” in a separate entry.
Skewing answers to “fit” won’t help you at all – remember I said this was not just about donning a pair of ballet heels and skipping off into the sunset. Like anything that is worth it, effort must be put in. “Nose against the grind stone” “Bum up head down” (into your school books) … that sort of thing.
I’m starting with very basic information here that is relevant to feet in general. We all have them no matter what style of shoe we wear, and the method of care is exactly the same.
1. Concept of the Ballet Heel
Ballet heels come in several different heights but have the same general look, which is that of a ballet pointe shoe with a heel attached. Many sites state the heel is a stiletto heel, however it is too thick and incorrectly shaped to be called a stiletto heel.
“Not all high slim heels merit the description stiletto. The extremely slender original Italian-style stiletto heels of the late 1950s and very early 1960s were no more than 5mm in diameter for much of their length, although the heel sometimes flared out a little at the top-piece (tip). After their demise in the mid-late 1960s, such slender heels were difficult to find until recently due to changes in the way heels were mass-produced. A real stiletto heel has a stem of solid steel or alloy. The more usual method of mass-producing high shoe heels, i.e. moulded plastic with an internal metal tube for reinforcement, does not achieve the true stiletto shape.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiletto_heel
The feet are held up on the toes, keeping the wearer in the fully extended posture of a ballerina. The heels are as long as possible, usually about seven inches depending on the size of the foot. It appears that the wearer is being forced onto the foot, however, if correct posture is used, the toes merely hang into the box of the shoe and the greater pressure is concentrated on the heel, where it should be. The boots usually zip and lace, making them comparatively easy to put on and remove. Mostwearers are almost completely immobile when wearing the boots.
2. History of the Ballet Heel
The fascination with the sensual and romantic look of a woman’s leg, foot and ankle that began with the development of en pointe ballet in the nineteenth century quickly translated into a fetish. Most of you by now are very aware of the history of the ballet heel as much as there is written about it. I will not reiterate. The antecedent of today’s ballet heels could be seen in Vienna around the turn of the century in shoes whose heels were longer than the toes, making walking and standing completely impossible, but also besides the point. However, I will showcase a pair of these very soon.
3. Accepted “FACTS” surrounding ballet heels
- The restrictiveness and unnatural shape of ballet boots renders them extremely painful after a few minutes of wear;
- They are usually worn by submissive types or masochists under controlled circumstances;
- They should not be worn long as severe cramping can ensue;
- They are impossible to walk in;
- They are only for the bedroom;
- They look stupid;
- Only a trained dancer can wear them successfully;
- You will hurt your back; and
- Your feet will be deformed
Please note. “If a lie is told often enough, it soon becomes the truth.”
Oh. And This: “The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some…” What I’m saying is don’t give up before you start because somebody has spread gloom and doom. That is merely their experience – no matter how slim they make the chances seem you will be able to do what you want. That’s pretty much what ANY controlling faction will try to do – create an environment where people don’t even bother to try. I’m seriously asking you to make your own “facts”.
4. What Size SHOULD I buy?
There are three distinctly different “factions” I have found surrounding this issue:
1. To buy them a size larger;
2. To buy them a size smaller;
3. To buy them in the same size you already wear.
I prescribe to the second “fact” and can say from personal experience that your foot needs to be held snugly in the boot and due to the nature of the positioning of the foot into the boot, a smaller size is best, unless you want to push an inch or so of padding into the toe to correct the anomaly of size. If you want to wear the pump/mary-jane/shoe type varieties, then buy 2 sizes smaller. Anyone purchasing a pair from me will receive personal attention in this regard to ensure their best fit.
5. Stockings, Socks and Foot Padding.
As you probably know by now, wearing stockings decreases the size of your foot marginally. Socks do this too, but depending on how thick the material is they are made from, they appear to increase the size of the foot. If your heels are too big, get thick socks, or wear a couple of pair. It’s really important that you buy the right size so you can avoid these measures to ensure you have a firm fit in your boot.
You will need to buy toe pads. I cannot stress this enough. The uppers of your toes will be damaged by the toe box so it’s important that they are protected as much as possible.
I use these but there are other brands around:
You can also use a cut up stress ball as I’ve outlined in this entry CLICKY CLICKY
6. Self Assessment
Possibly the hardest thing you will do. Please click on the link and download the self assessment questionnaire.
Points to remember:
- This is about you.
- No comparisons.
7. Foot Care for Ballet Heels wearers
Most of what you will find here is common sense. Many of the issues that prevent happy use of ballet heels are the same issues that will prevent you from enjoying your feet at all. I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel and the information provided at the links is proven.
General foot issues that relate to Ballet Heel wearers.
Keeping your feet and nails in good condition adds to the enjoyment of walking as a basis and wearing ballet heels, as the extreme.
Common problems include ingrown toenails, infection along the side of the toenail, fungus, ill cared for nails; brittle nails. Please consult the link provided for some general information on this subject:
I keep my toenails filed short.
I exfoliate my feet every time I shower using a hemp hand mitt.
I massage olive oil well into my feet and toes after every shower.
I keep cuticles at bay.
I make sure I home pedicure my feet once a week.
Permanent injury or disability of the foot:
http://www.podiatryvic.com.au/Public/Facts10.htm and if you wear these:http://www.podiatryvic.com.au/Public/Facts12.htm then ballet heels are not for you.
If you can manage it, do your own pedicure. That way you get to know your own feet well. If you aren’t comfortable about touching your own feet maybe you can pay someone to do it for you. Whichever way it happens, it’s important to keep the excess skin at bay on your feet and toes.
The above image shows the areas highlighted in red that are most affected by corn and callus growth. Pedicure as routine maintenance will help prevent excessive build up of dead and dry skin. This foot is in particularly poor condition as noted by the shape of the toe bones. Too small a shoe causes the toes to claw up in this manner. It is hard to maintain balance with feet like this as the toes should be flexible.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is your feet’s best friend.
I have very sensitive skin and don’t like perfumed chemical preparations on my skin. I’ve used Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) on my skin for years. Give it a try. You might be surprised. Speaking of natural preparations I also rub Vicks Vaporub onto my feet and put a cotton sock on to keep the gel on the foot and protect the house from the gel. I usually do it just before I go to bed and sleep in it.
Seriously, your feet will be really soft in the morning. Petroleum jelly doesn’t work as well, so it’s possibly got something to do with the penetrative effects of the Eucalyptus/camphor/etc essential oil mix but I’m not really sure as not much research has been done into why this is so. All I know is it’s a fabulous and cheap “foot spa”. Here is a cut/paste from Wiki with reference to the use of EVOO in skin care. The whole article is really interesting if you like to read it.
In addition to the internal health benefits of olive oil, topical application is quite popular with fans of natural health remedies.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the preferred grade for moisturizing the skin, especially when used in the oil cleansing method (OCM). OCM is a method of cleansing and moisturizing the face with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil (or another suitable carrier oil) and a select blend of essential oils. Olive oil is also used by some to reduce ear wax buildup.
Jeanne Calment, who holds the record for the longest confirmed lifespan, reportedly attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed into her skin.“
Your feet are your best friend; treat them well
Some links to follow for interesting reading:
Counter active stretches and muscle toning exercises have been used by many people over the decades. It is sometimes called isometrics. I will share specific exercises with you in the third lesson where I also discuss some other fine points for your posture, which is to be discussed next week.
Using the Tutorials:
I have researched all links as thoroughly as I can to ensure the information is correct and provided what information I believe is important relating to the subject of using Ballet Heels.
Please follow the links provided and read the information there. It saves me cut/pasting it and these entries being ridiculously long.
Please feel free to scroll to the bottom of the wiki page and research the links. I quote wiki because it’s easy and I have already read the research links and found the information to be sound. I know the wiki has a bad reputation which is why I double check before I use it as a link.
Please download any documents I link to and read them. You will easily find downloadable PDF material by looking for this:
Please watch/download the video content posted with tutorials.
A picture paints a thousand words. 30 frames a second says quite a bit, I think.
Did you know the best way to conserve energy and avoid fatigue while standing is to stand in balance? Standing in balance allows ease of movement. It reduces fatigue and the friction that produces aches and pains in joints and muscles.
It activates those muscles which should be at work holding the body erect, thereby helping to keep them in condition as a natural course of being. No exercise program necessary. No expensive gym memberships or machines.
Correct alignment of body parts is obtained by proper distribution of the weight of the body.
- Place both feet parallel, a few inches apart, big toes pointing straight ahead. Slowly draw the buttock and Adductor muscles (inner thigh muscles) tightly together.
- Press toward the ball of each foot and hold the body weight evenly distributed on both legs.
- With the muscles in front of the thighs (quadriceps), pull up both kneecaps.
- From the small of the back (lumbar region), with the long muscles, slowly stretch the back straight upward.
- Draw yourself up toward the “crown” of the head.
- Simultaneously, gently move the chin slightly forward until it is held at right angles to the front of the neck.
- From the centre of the upper back, with the shoulder blade muscles (rhomboids and trapezius), slowly draw the shoulder blades back and down until they are flat and held together.
- Let the arms hand loosely at the sides. (1)(2)
How does this relate to Ballet Heels?
Due to the position of the foot in the ballet heel, it is important to maintain a good posture. Your centre of balance changes somewhat from a normal stance while wearing a ballet heel. You are inclined to place the bulk of your weight onto the toe. This is incorrect. To maintain a safe centre of balance the bulk of your weight must be placed at the heel of your foot. The construction of the heel of these shoes is incorrect therefore some modifications are recommended.
However for the purposes of this tutorial set, I am using standard unmodified Devious heels as I figure most of you have these hiding in the backs of your cupboards. As a preference I use another brand due to its superior design for my every day use.
Some people who own Devious Ballet heels find it helpful to remove the heel pin and cut 1.5cm off the bottom of the heel. I can supply instructions for this process. I note however, it is not an optimal solution, although better than nothing.
There is an increased risk of damage to your body while using any heel, especially with the ballet heel. For increased enjoyment of your ballet heels, the preparation is as important as the wearing.
Fetish behaviours aside, most of us have a job, family and other things to attend to which require our bodies to be well enough to perform these tasks. Imagine never being able to work again, because you permanently damaged yourself in a fetish scene?
I believe being fit and healthy makes fetish play more fun and increases the possibilities of play. You don’t have to be at the elite level of fitness; merely a general ability and some flexibility. Obviously, the fitter and stronger your body, the longer you will be able to maintain your wear.
(1)Quoted directly from LOOK BETTER, FEEL BETTER by Bess Mensendieck, MD, 1954
Points to note:
A full length mirror is your best friend. It is the easiest way to self correct posture issues because the feedback is instant. So is the self correction. :-D
Ankle strength and flexibility are important if not paramount to successful Ballet Heel wearing. You can improve ankle strength and flexibility with simple exercises. These are available in this journal.
Find centre of balance in your ballet heels by:
- Standing with predominance of weight on the heel of the shoe.
- Relaxing the foot into the toe of the shoe.
- Tilting hips forwards and up.
- Engaging bottom and inner thigh muscles.
- Ensuring knee musculature is engaged so knee is pulled up.
- Abdominal girdle is engaged.
- Shoulders are relaxed and set back, not dropping forwards.
Stiffening of the muscles causes damage.
Engaging muscles is not the same. It is a controlled conscious movement.
Stiffening is what we do when we feel unsure and is unconscious. It is the precursor to “fight or flight” adrenalin mode. Adrenalin makes the muscles work hard and become more susceptible to damage. Breathing with intent (to a count or a beat as your preference is) can help the mind and body to calm.
Posture is important, if you haven’t been able to achieve a decent continuous posture for at least ten minutes in bare feet or your normal every day shoes; you won’t be able to maintain a balanced frame and will not be able to walk successfully in your Ballet Heels.
The reason I gave you the earlier information was to prepare your body to be able to do what you want with the heels. Mostly it’s the ability to stand, or walk in them with ease.
If you haven’t been practicing standing in balance, sitting in balance or developing some overall body strength, go back and do that first.
Obviously it’s up to you, but if you can’t stand erect as nature intended, then you will fail at this stage of the process.
Simply, you don’t have a minimum requirement for basic level fitness and ballet heels are really a more advanced fitness level tool. With a basic flexibility and body strength you can work at it and get better and better. Common sense also indicates more possibility of injury; or failure at the task which may cause you to give in all together. Be kind to yourself and prepare.
Technique for walking explained
- Stand in balance in your heels. If you can’t practice some more and come back to this when you can.
- Load heel of shoe before the toe of your starting leg keeping knee extended and straight as you do.
- Load heel of shoe before toe of your other leg keeping knee extended and straight as you do.
- Fix eye level just above your natural line, so you don’t look at the ground, causing poor posture and an inability to walk properly. Also you may bump into things if you are looking at the ground all the time.
- Repeat heel/toe action as necessary alternating your legs as you go, otherwise, you’re hopping! *pokes tongue*
Try this technique for walking in ballet heels
Pretend you have a D-ring screwed into the top of your skull and there is a rope attached to it. Try to imagine there is a magical sky being holding the end of the rope taught which is keeping your body in balance as you walk.
The straighter you stand, the better you will walk. It’s that simple. Not only in ballet heels. With any walking you do including that in bare feet. I recommend that you do walk around in your bare feet, obviously not on hot roads, in blizzards or on broken glass “etcetera etcetera”(1) as it’s good for your feet.
Concentrate on how you place your bare feet down, and try to make corrections as you go as you practice maintaining your natural balanced posture as you go. Use your mirror; remember it really is your best friend while making adjustments to your posture.
UPGRADING VIDEO TODAY :-) 16/2/13
The promised how to walk in Ballet Heels video.
Super magical exercises for calves, ankles and feet:
Please click on the link to download 584kb PDF file.
EDIT: Feb 2013
Here is another exercise for you to consider when you are assessing your walk. :-)
A little video for you explaining how to do the exercise – and some tips for performing it correctly.