If you’ve been wearing high heels for a long time, then it will take some time to release the tight and very shortened calf muscles in order to wear flatter shoes more comfortably and safely. If you can barely stretch your calves while performing the calf stretch (below), then wait before transitioning to a flat.
In the meantime, find the lowest heel that you can wear comfortably and determine this as your new high heel. As you move to a lower heel, use this time to retrain your foot muscles and elongate your calf muscles. Your feet may feel tired and achy at first because you are building up muscle strength that was lost while wearing compromising footwear.
If you feel that you must wear heels in order to appear professional, then consider the following:
Keep a pair of flatter shoes at your desk
Take a 3-5 min break for foot stretches (below)
Keep a set of toe spacers at your desk (Can use the foam spacers used for pedicures)
Stretches for Transitioning out of High Heels
Using Rolled Towel
Sit on rolled towel or cushion, keeping knees and thighs relaxed and straight.
Press heels into wall
Reach hands to the wall, folding at the level of the hips
Take relaxing breaths, and don’t bounce
Using Toe Spacers
For the Foot
Using tennis ball
Stand (or sit for less pressure) with feet side by side
Keep heel on ground and press forefoot onto tennis ball
Move ball to different parts of the sole, applying continuous pressure. Hold each location 20-30 seconds.
Much of this information was shared from “Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief” by Katy Bowman, MS