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Potential Safety Concerns: TikTok’s Ingenious Hack for Pain-Free High Heels

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

TikTok True or False presents the solution to your burning inquiries about the health, beauty, and fitness trends dominating your social media feeds. Each story dissects a popular wellness trend with the guidance of experts and scientific research to uncover the truth and safety behind the viral “advice” you find online. You’ll no longer have to speculate what’s truly legitimate — or what to disregard.

Shoe enthusiasts might derive pleasure from donning a pair of high heels to enhance an attire for a fancy occasion or a night out with pals. However, standing or walking in elevated heels for extended periods carries the potential for discomfort. (Psst: This Is What Occurs to Your Feet When You Essentially Never Wear Shoes)

Not surprisingly, there’s a TikTok trick floating around that apparently demonstrates how to alleviate the pain that accompanies wearing high heels. For example, TikTok user @ChristyClips discloses that the “secret” to enduring more than six hours in heels is Aspercreme pain relief spray, a product containing 4 percent Lidocaine (a topical anesthetic). She sprays it all over her feet prior to wearing heels to eliminate discomfort. The video has since gone viral, accumulating nearly 19 million views to date, and it has encouraged others to give the trick a try as well.

Now, if you’re curious about how a spray formulated to alleviate muscle and joint pain can reduce the agony of your favorite stilettos, let a podiatrist elucidate. Continue reading to discover if the TikTok trick genuinely works and whether it’s safe to attempt before your next major night out.

What Is Lidocaine spray?

Lidocaine is a topical analgesic. It induces numbness in the skin and surrounding tissues and is utilized to prevent pain during certain procedures and treat minor cuts, burns, and insect bites, in accordance with the Cleveland Clinic.

You can obtain the medication in spray format at pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens under brand names like Aspercreme, Alocane, and Lidocaine. Over-the-counter versions are intended solely for external use, providing relief from muscle and joint pain without any scent. Most products offer a few hours of relief and contain four percent lidocaine, as stated on their respective labels.

Does utilizing Lidocaine spray for foot pain relief work?

“Lidocaine spray is a local anesthetic that functions by inducing temporary numbness/loss of sensation in the skin,” states Hillary Brenner, D.P.M., a podiatrist based in New York and New Jersey.

It aids in alleviating discomfort by merely dulling the pain receptors in the foot.

As numerous TikTokers point out in videos shared on the app, the spray appears to provide relief from the discomfort caused by wearing high heels. Simply stated, without the sensation in your feet, there is no immediate ache while wearing uncomfortable shoes. One creator on the platform even mentions that Lidocaine spray caused their feet to become “instantly numb,” allowing them to have a pain-free experience while wearing heels.

Is it safe to use Lidocaine spray for alleviating foot pain?

“There is a rationale behind the presence of pain receptors in our feet,” states Brenner. Utilizing Lidocaine spray and consequently disregarding those signals can potentially lead to minor problems, such as blisters; it may also cause you to “overlook signs of developing stress fractures,” she explains.

ICYDK (In Case You Didn’t Know), stress fractures are minute fissures in weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot that can be induced from improper footwear (shoes that are excessively rigid or excessively flimsy). Ignoring the pain receptors in the feet can also heighten your chances of developing corns and calluses, which are thick, hardened layers of skin that form when your skin endeavors to shield itself against friction and pressure, clarifies Brenner.

This TikTok trend is especially perilous for individuals with diabetes or other conditions that cause neuropathy (also known as nerve damage). “Diabetics are susceptible to loss of sensation, particularly in their feet,” states Brenner. “They can step on a nail and not even perceive it,” she explains. “By using a topical spray to enhance numbness, they can acquire a blister that can lead to an open wound and remain unaware of it because their feet are devoid of sensation.”

Apart from these discomforting issues, “you can experience side effects from the spray itself such as an allergic reaction, skin rash, and in more severe cases, and depending on your medical history, you can develop respiratory problems, chills, fevers, etc.,” adds Brenner. If you employ a Lidocaine spray and encounter sensations like redness, irritation, or persisting symptoms lasting more than seven days, or if symptoms subside and then return, you should discontinue usage immediately and seek advice from a medical professional.

Can you use Lidocaine spray to make wearing heels more comfortable: True or false?


If it sounds a little bit frightening to hear TikTokers mention that their feet “immediately go numb” upon applying the spray, that’s precisely why you probably don’t want to try this trick for yourself. “I’m not a fan of using this product to alleviate the discomfort when wearing heels,” explains Brenner. While the spray might provide temporary relief from pain caused by wearing high heels, this TikTok hack comes with safety concerns that make it a poor idea for most individuals, according to the podiatrist.

So, does this mean you need to simply endure the pain of wearing heels? Brenner says there are plenty of ways to ensure you’re purchasing shoes that fit properly — a crucial element in determining how comfortable your feet will feel if you wear them out into the real world.

Since feet tend to naturally expand and/or swell as the day progresses due to normal activities, such as walking or standing for extended periods of time, go shoe shopping toward the end of the day, so your feet are true to size, she suggests. You can also measure the length (from the back/central part of the heel to the longest toe) and width (by wrapping a tape measure around the widest part of your bare foot) to ensure a proper fit, she says.

Also, certain types of heels will naturally be more comfortable than others. Your best choice for comfort is a shoe with a heel height under two inches and a square or round toe box, which won’t squeeze the toes as much as a pointy toe shape can, according to Brenner. “Try for a wider, chunkier heel with arch support and cushion throughout the shoe,” she adds.

That said, sometimes a special occasion simply calls for those extra-high heels you love — even if they don’t love you back. “If you don’t want to follow the rules at all and go for the sky-high heel, make sure to only wear that shoe in moderation,” says Brenner. Sit down as much as possible and avoid standing for more than a half-hour at a time. You’ll also be better off standing on a soft surface such as carpet, rather than hard floors. Finally, you can invest in custom orthotics and non-medicated moleskin pads or foot petals to place inside an uncomfortable pair of shoes to protect toes and joints.

If you do end up in pain despite your best efforts, here’s how to relieve foot pain the next day.

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