I was very excited to hear that, after 56 years, you are getting ankle joints and will finally be able to wear flats. However, it occurred to me that in your excitement at allowing your heels access to the floor, you might hurt yourself along the way.
When you’ve worn high heels for decades—silver metallic heels, sparkly heels, and mismatched heels because one of them went missing and then reappeared in my sister’s diaper—parts of your body change shape. Your calf muscles shorten and your Achilles tendon thickens. These changes make high heels easier to wear, but they make wearing flats hard on the body. Which is why it is essential that you follow these steps to transition out of your heels safely.
Don’t drop your heel height right away. Find some 1” heels to walk around in for a month or two before you go all the way flat. Just doing this is a "stretch" to your calves and ankles. It makes sense, right? Your heels haven’t touched the ground in 56 years, so forcing them to the ground can strain the ankle’s tendon.
Stretch your calves gently, and often. Barbie, you’ve essentially walked downhill all of your life, at least as far as your ankles are concerned. Roll up one of your bath towels and place the toes of your right foot on it and lower that heel to the ground. Step forward a bit with your left foot. This stretch introduces an “uphill” load to your calves…something they’ve been missing for, well, forever, in your case. No, climbing into your convertible does not count as walking uphill. Repeat the other side.
Revive your toes. Heels place a lot of your weight upon the small bones in the front of the foot and toes. I know you’re dainty, Barbie, but this pressure, coupled with the tiny toe-boxes of the shoes I used to dress you in, have probably left your toes squished together, toe muscles weak, and the toe bones overloaded. That you have yet to develop a bunion is a nod to your integrity. Try stretching your toes away from each other—first with your fingers, gently pulling the toes apart, and then for longer, by wearing toe-spacers, manicure foams, or toe alignment socks while watching TV or sleeping. If you can wear full makeup to bed, you can probably manage some alignment socks.
Barbie, I’m only trying to help. I feel I owe you one after I ripped your leg off when I was mad at my sister. And then there was that unfortunate haircut I gave you when I was seven. I’ve asked my grandmother to hem up all of your gowns, but until I hear back, take care of your feet and choose your shoes wisely. They affect your whole body, you know.