Many people know shoe selection can affect their ability to run. Today I am not writing about which running shoe will prevent an achilles injury but explaining how the shoes that we use on a daily basis can affect our achilles tendon health. High heeled shoes cause a shortening of the calf muscles that come together to form the achilles tendon. Lower heeled shoes allow for lengthening of the muscles, but the muscles may not have the ability to elongate.
Female patients provide the best example of shoe diversity. I have patients that walk all day in high-heels, but run in a minimalist shoes. Others will walk around in flats all day, but run in a high drop (heel to forefoot ratio) motion control shoe. Both scenarios lack consistency. These inconsistent shoe choices can impact the health of the achilles tendons.
As an injury lingers, a few paychecks may be spent trying:
- Heel lifts
- Various stretching devices
- New shoes and more new shoes
- Weeks -> months of therapy
As the common saying goes, many people can’t see the forrest for the trees. A bit of self awareness about what we put on our feet can help alleviate and prevent injuries from occurring. Understanding, some fashionable shoes worn throughout the week can impact the health of your achilles tendon in sport. Sometimes the answer to the cause of the injury can simply be learned by comparing the running shoes to the other shoes already sitting in the closet.
Get a proper shoe fit. Discuss your fashion style with your trainer, coach, and medical professional. Stay healthy. Stay active.