If beauty really is pain, it’s hard to think of any better example than high heels. Day after day, we contort our feet into them and steel ourselves to endure hours of discomfort — but there’s a better way! Celebrity podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal, (also known as the hero who taught Oprah how to walk in heels), has some tips for rocking heels with healthier, happier feet! Here’s the lowdown!

YouBeauty: Is walking in high heels dangerous for most women?

Dr. Splichal: “Due to the shift in posture associated with wearing high heels, yes, there are risks with prolonged high heel wear. Excessive walking in heels can put undo stress on the lower back, knees and feet. This risk is directly proportional to heel height which means that our favorite 5-inch heels are going to stress the body more than say a more practical kitten heel.”

Is there a safe way to walk in heels (and look fabulous while doing it)?
“Proper stiletto posture when walking in heels will not only decrease pain but will also help us look fabulous.

We want to focus on keeping the chest up and pelvis as close to neutral as possible. This requires a bit of core strength so women should think about their Pilates muscles. When walking in 4-inch and lower heels women should focus on still keeping a heel toe gait. This allows a little rhythm into the stiletto step. With platforms it’s a little different, as women need to assume more of a flat foot step which takes out the rhythm and requires a slower walk.”

What should we be looking for in a high heel when we shoe shop if we want to have healthy feet?
“The most important tip has to do with fit. If you feel pain or tightness in the toes while trying them on do not buy them. Heels that have a pointed toe are going to put more pressure on the toes than say a rounded toe.

In addition, consider heel height. If you generally do not feel stable in your heels, then go for a lower and thicker heel. Choosing a heel that is strapped to the foot such as a Mary Jane may also increase the comfort in the shoe.”

Any advice you’d like to share for fashion-loving ladies who choose style over foot comfort?
“Recovery. Stiletto recovery is key to the longevity of heel wear. Stretching the calves and rolling out the bottom of the foot every day is necessary to keep the foot and ankle flexibility for stiletto wear. Another great tip is to not wear the same shoe two days in a row. Every shoe puts a slightly different stress on the body and foot.”

RSVP here to hear Dr. Splichal speak at a Fab Fit Mom-to-Be event on Saturday, October 17 in NYC. 

READ MORE: 15 Comfortable Heels For Happier Feet