The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How To Beat The Post-Wedding Heel Hangover

Posted by on Monday, May 18th, 2015


“For many brides, sore and blistered feet are the price they pay for a fashionable wedding day photo-shoot,” says NYC Podiatrist Dr. Katherine Lai, DPM. “What seemed like a good idea at the time can result in sheer agony in the subsequent days, especially when you’re dancing a lot – your feet are swelling, and the heels are rubbing against your skin.” Most people try to deal with the agony at home, but Dr. Lai says The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City fields more questions this time of year from concerned newlyweds who need advice on how to treat blisters, numbness, pain and swelling.

foot pain wedding
A pair of vintage high heels seemed like a good idea before the wedding, but resulted in a lot of post-reception pain! Image Source: (Dru Kelly)

A Wedding Heel Nightmare

The next morning, what started as a little bit of discomfort can turn into pain so bad it’s difficult to wear shoes. “I had a vintage 1920s themed wedding, so having stylish shoes was paramount to me,” recalls one patient, Jen B. “I don’t normally wear crazy heels… and these ones had a severe angle to them. I was dancing pretty much all night long and my feet were swelling up. At first, I was careful to stop periodically and adjust the strap across the top of my foot to accommodate, but the more drinks I had, the less I felt or worried about my foot pain. By the next day, I had huge gouges in my feet from where the straps and buckles had dug in. A chunk of flesh actually ripped right off! The pads of my feet were tender to the touch. My arches were screaming! I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t even wear socks or put shoes on my feet.”

Jen’s story is not at all uncommon. Looking back, we assessed many things she could have done to prevent such terrible foot pain. Aside from choosing a smaller heel, she could have been more careful to pick a soft leather material (rather than a vinyl plastic), which would have breathed more and conformed to her foot better, with less digging. She could have also retrofitted her shoes with strap cushions and metatarsal pads to protect the forefoot. Every woman should pack a few Band-aids and moleskin in her purse for emergency first aid.

Most Common Wedding Heel Woes

Podiatrists may treat wedding heel related injuries such as:

– Blisters or ulcers: Rubbing from the shoe material can cause a break in the skin known as a blister — or an ulcer if the wound gets infected or does not heal properly. If you have a blister, it’s important that you resist the urge to peel off the skin. Instead, leave the barrier intact to protect your injury from bacteria. Clean and moisturize your feet, and cover with a protective bandage or moleskin. Rather than popping it yourself, we recommend coming in for an assessment because popping certain types of blisters (like a blood blister) can cause a serious infection. Read more on blister DO’s and DON’Ts here.

– Bunions and hammer toes: Bunions and hammer toes are not caused by high heel wearing, but the deformity can be exacerbated by poor footwear choice, especially if the toe box is particularly narrow and squishes the toes together. Doctors Lai, Minara and Geldwert have a combined 60 years of experience in treating bunions. We start with conservative measures like footwear modification and night splints to prevent worsening, but we are also adept at many different techniques of bunion repair surgery.

– Metatarsalgia and nerve pain: Sharp shooting pains on the balls of the feet can occur from placing too much pressure on the nerves in the forefoot. We treat patients with anti-inflammatory medication, metatarsal pads, custom orthotics, and physical therapy exercises. Our office is also equipped with Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Therapy for high-tech pain relief and healing.

– Crushed toenails: Tight toe boxes can cause toenail trauma that may not be easily repaired with super glue. When you are concerned about the appearance of the nail — be it cracked, digging into your flesh, discolored, or falling off — our podiatry experts can set to work whittling away the damaged portion of the nail and setting it up to heal properly. Some chronic toenail problems are related to genetics or issues with the nail bed, in which case it’s essential to have a professional evaluate your feet.

 What A Podiatrist Can Do For You

We offer a number of advanced therapies for foot pain and injury in our NYC podiatry office. We can treat nerve pain with lasers or ultrasound that prompt natural healing. We can perform quick, in-office debridement procedures to fix damaged or ingrown toenails. We can dress wounds to ensure quick and efficient healing or prescribe antibiotics as necessary to combat infection. We’ll direct you on the proper way to ice, compress, stretch, and massage your feet. We may be able to fit you with special footwear to accommodate your injured feet or fit you with custom orthotics that make everyday footwear feel more comfortable. Your feet are the key to maintaining an active and satisfying lifestyle in the years to come, so don’t overlook the pain you feel today. Contact us for solutions!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.