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Wear Heels? How to Treat Your Runner’s Legs Right

June 15th, 2013

Not the Best Solution for Your Next Run

Many of you ladies wear high heels on a regular basis. Some studies say that up to 40% of you wear heels to work every day. While most of us at the RW offices sport a pair of running shoes on a typical workday, we get it. Heels have a certain something – they give you a little extra boost and show off those sculpted calves you’ve carved on the roads and trails.

But be careful, because constant heel use can cause foot and leg damage that can inhibit your running. Achilles tendon injuries are one of the most common problems experienced by runners who wear high heels frequently. Take our tips to treat your Achilles right and keep your training on track – don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to throw your fave heels away.

Pack a Pair

If you want to don a classy heel at the office, try wearing a more comfortable shoe for your to-and-from to give your feet and legs a break.  Stash a pair of flip-flops or flats in your purse to slip on during your commute. Wear your comfier shoes if you go out on your lunch break, too. Giving your feet a break from all-day heel wearing will help prevent permanent damage to your Achilles.

Stretch

If you are a regular high heel wearer, make sure to stretch out your calves several times each day. To stretch your Achilles, sit on the floor with one leg extended in front of you and your foot flexed so that your toes are pointed toward the ceiling. Reach down with your arms and gently pull your foot toward your body. If you are not flexible enough to do this, then wrap a flexible belt around the ball of your foot to help you pull your foot toward yourself.

Mix It Up

Studies have shown that wearing high heels at least five days a week can cause your calf muscle fibers to shrink and your Achilles tendon to thicken. If you’re a runner (or even if you’re not), this is less than ideal. To reduce the damage to your calves and Achilles, mix up your shoe styles instead of wearing heels every day. Opt for a nice pair of flats a few days a week for work, or even nix heels altogether for your nine-to-five and save the sky-highs for your après work activities.

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