In today’s society, the norm for many women is to wear high heels when they work, go out with friends, and even around the house. Although high heels undoubtedly can help enhance an outfit or help make your legs appear toned, they will affect your body in such a way that can lead to negative effects on your running performance.
High heels put the leg in a position where the calf muscle is contracting. This is the desirable to many women because it makes the legs look more toned. The sustained muscle contraction can actually lead to a shortening and stiffening of the muscles that connect your knee and lower leg to your ankle, called the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. This shortening of these muscles will decrease your flexibility during running and will also cause them to fatigue faster. Besides shortening your calve muscles, wearing high heels also puts more pressure on the balls of your feet which puts you at higher risk of developing stress fractures of the metatarsal bones since you are no long distributing your weight equally over your foot.
Although the best way to combat this problem is to stop wearing high heels, I understand that for many people, and for some occupations, this simply isn’t an option. There are a few things that can be done to help combat problems from developing from wearing high heels. First, you can spend time stretching your calves each day that you wear high heels. The best stretch is to find a wall and put the ball of one foot against the wall while keeping the heel of that foot on the floor. Slowly move toward the wall until you feel a stretching sensation in your calve. Hold this position for 10 seconds then repeat 4 more times, alternating legs. Besides stretching you can also be more selective when you choose to wear high heels. If you have to walk to work, wear flats during the walk and change into high heels when you get there. Little substitutions like this really add up and help prevent any side effects from wearing high heels.
Many women in our society wear high heels for one reason or another but don’t want it to affect their running performance. The best way to prevent any problems from happening is to stop wearing high heels all together. If this isn’t possible then stretching and being pickier with when you were high heels will help to prevent any injuries from occurring.
Source by Dr Andrew Schneider