The 'morning after' has a new connotation now. Have you attended a friend's party last night and woken up with feet that feels as heavy as your head? Or have you spent a day working at the office and have a nagging ache in your legs and calves? You're suffering from a 'high heel hangover'. Referred to as the 'day-after' pain that occurs after long hours of heel-wearing, it can be extremely detrimental. As per reports, among other issues, the late singer Prince is also said to have suffered from debilitating pain in his hips caused by performing in platform heels. The condition has given rise to a 'no heels' movement, where women have been ditching their towering footwear like never before. Several celebs have taken up an anti-heel campaign — Julia Roberts walked barefoot at this year's Cannes film fest and British actress Emma Thompson also once accepted her Best Actress award with no shoes on. Model Cara Delevingne has been quoted as saying, "I hate high heels, more than anything." and Victoria Beckham announced this March that she "just can't do heels anymore". Here's what the new hangover is about...

#Antiheels movement gains ground

Recently, a petition against an age-old tradition of requiring women in UK to wear high heels at work garnered a staggering 100,000 signatures. Launched by Nicola Thorpe — she was sent back home for being in flats at her workplace and asked to turn up in two to four inches of heels — the issue even reportedly got the British parliament to consider holding a debate on the issue. It also brought into focus alarming repercussions for those who have to wear heels every day.

Health dangers

They may instantly add oomph to your look, but high heels can cause immense pain and inflict long-lasting damage. A report quoted a podiatrist as saying, "The main reason for this is because heels force your foot forward, altering the angle of your body, so your weight isn't evenly distributed over the spine. This triggers pain from your knees all the way up to your lower back." So, the higher the heel, the greater the impact on the front part of the foot, leading to blisters, corns and even bunions. One study found that walking in 3½-inch heels causes excess bone-on-bone movement in the knees, which is believed to be the cause of a higher incidence of osteoarthritis in the knees. Another study suggests that these heels may alter the muscles around the ankle, leading to balance problems. "Because you're almost on tiptoe when wearing heels, it tightens the calf muscles and stiffens the Achilles tendon, causing leg pain," added the podiatrist.

Flats aren't the answer

Don't rush to get into your flats yet, as they may be damaging as well. Ballerinas and sandals actually offer little arch support, which makes the foot slide around, lessening stability. It also makes the wearers grip their toes throughout the time they are walking in them. This increases pressure on the lower back, alters one's walking gait and results in heel pain. Tight heels also cause foot constriction, leading to 'hammer toes', which is when the middle toes get deformed and painfully bent, warns a doctor. This augments the risk of ankle sprain.

The ideal shoe? It's the 'midi heel'

Foot experts reveal that the ideal female shoe should have a small heel (2-4 cm) to absorb heel impact. It should also have a contoured foot base for the foot arch.

66 pain

Research has calculated that the average pair of high heels causes pain 'after being worn for 66 minutes and 48 seconds'.

What to do to lessen the impact

Use a gel cushion to soothe balls of your feet.

Do a few calf, hamstring and foot stretches after being in your heels for a long time.

Roll a golf ball or a chilled water bottle over the underside of the feet.

Also do toe lifts, where you lift each toe individually.

Get a foot-reflexology massage.

Do a foot soak to reduce inflammation.

Take a 'heel holiday' and wear athleisure trainers that double up as casual footwear, too.Read more at:formal dresses online australia | unique formal dresses