This week I have worn shoes to work that have a higher heel than what I normally wear. WOW…my feet, calves and legs have been feeling the change!! This morning when I woke up and stepped out of bed, my feet were a little achy. I knew it was from the unsupportive shoes I have worn to work this week, so today I decided I was wearing my running shoes to work.
I know high heels are bad for runners. High heels shorten the achilles and the calf muscles (both the soleus and gastrocnemius), which reduces the natural elasticity of them. This also affects the hamstring, which is the engine we use while running. When we run, our quadricep muscles are similar to the car and the hamstring muscles are the engines that propel us forward. When we shorten our achilles and calf muscles we make it much more difficult for our hamstrings and glutes to engage, costing us more energy and making us less efficient runners.
High heels prevent dorsiflexion of the ankle (dorsiflexion = pulling the toes toward the shin), which reduces hip extension and stride length. As a runner, this position also hinders your ability to push off with your calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles. When our calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles are not able to properly fire while running, we run the risk of altering our gait and injury.
While high heels are fashionable, I’ve decided functional is more my style. I don’t want to sacrifice my full potential as an athlete for a little fashion!!