Wearing high heels shoes can create a lot of problems when it comes to walking biomechanics which could cause injuries in your feet and further up your body into your hip and lower back.
What changes high heels make?
It creates a-lot of pressure in your big toe
It will reduce the ability to get a spring in your step because there is less tension in your calf due to it being in a shortened position.
You have to step higher to clear your foot off the ground and this can cause injuries to other areas of the body. The higher the heel, the higher you have to step.
With your heel raised the knee is moving forwards so there is more loading through your quadriceps and therefore more compression across the knee.
Whereas the people who use a low heeled shoe are more likely to put the foot under their centre of mass and use the muscles around the front of your lower leg as shock absorbers.
Simply put, if you run downhill you will feel like your knee is under more pressure. Therefore, if you wear high heeled shoes you are changing the biomechanics of your walking to affectively be always walking downhill.
High heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides. This movement pattern continued even when they kicked off their heels and walked barefoot.
Try it yourself:
If you go up on your toes and take a few strides. It is very difficult it is to take a full stride and engage your glutes.
But, if the foot is flat on the floor with your toes extended it is much easier to engage your glutes.
So what can we learn?
If you wear high heels for a long period of time, your calf fibres could shorten and be put under much greater strain than if you do not wear high heels.
None the less, there is a bigger problem lurking and brewing underneath when heels are worn regularly.
Slowly and gradually the disuse of the muscles at the front of your lower leg will weaken and your calf will shorten. If left too long, it will result in tightness.
Exercises and rehabilitation
Instead of just stretching the calf and forcing the ankle into a position, the aim is to strengthen the front part of your lower leg.
First, bend the knee and lift the foot up with the leg bent. This will access lots of the required muscles. Then slide the foot forward and lower the leg. Repeat and slowly slide forwards.
Bend the knee, come onto your toes so the whole calf is engaged. Then lower the heel down but as you do this increase knee flexion while the toes are raised. Do this one leg at a time and slowly move backwards.
Do 2 minutes of each of these exercises every day. This is especially important if you are doing running as an exercise.
If you would like a full functional assessment or have any pains when exercising feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
💥Have you had overly tight calves for a long time? Hip extension may have something to do with this.
🏃🏻 Your hip and ankle are key components in your gait/running cycle. Normal range of motion is 10 degrees for hip extension and 40 degrees for ankle dorsiflexion.
💥If you are restricted in these movements then there may be long term effects of your running performance and you could incur injuries or overly tight muscles along the way.
💪🏽There are 2 main muscles in your calf. The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus. The main firing of these muscles is when your heel lifts. The gluteus maximus at the back of your hip stops firing just before your calf muscles, this acts as a one two punch that propels you forwards.
💥Normally ankle dorsiflexion should be equal to hip extension. So if your ankle is restricted in movement, then you will not be able to access your full hip extension and therefore affect performance and increase your susceptibility to injury. This is termed the Z angle.
✍🏻 It has been shown if you can not get into full hip extension then your calf has to fire early to still help you move forward while running. So, your calf is being loaded for a greater amount of time so runners can be symptomatic of calf pain for days after a run because of this.
💥Also, if you can’t get into full hip extension, when the calf contracts it will drive your weight upwards creating a vertical phenomenon, meaning your calves have to work harder.
How can we help at the Lawlor Clinic?
During an assessment we can see if your hips ankles or other parts of the body aren’t moving properly or to see if you are compensating in other areas.
Once we have found the problem areas , we can mobilise and manipulate them. This should increase the range of motion in the area.
Then we will give exercises in the clinic and for you to do at home that will help get the muscles surrounding the joint to work well functionally while you move.
👌This will mean you can get into the previously not possible range of motion and keep it there so you will be out of pain for longer and performing better.
If you would like to book in for an assessment then contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.