High Heel Rehab for Runners

We recently read Jenny Hadfield’s blog entry on Runners World which may be helpful to those of you that wear high heels during your 9 to 5 and suffer from pains in the feet, legs, hips and lower back.

Tension can be released in these key areas with simple SMR (self myofascial release) techniques to help keep you running when you kick off your heels. We were especially excited to see our products highlighted in the post!

Check out Coach Jenny’s blog entry below:

High Heels and Running: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I love to wear high heels and do so for work and play. However, I’m experiencing a lot of pain in my feet and legs and wondering if my choice in fashion may be the cause.  What are you thoughts?  – Amy Gessup

Hi, Amy.  High heels can indeed cause major issues in your feet, legs, hips, and low back.  Although they can do wonders by adding length to your physique and greatly complement your look (“the Good”), they can wreak havoc on your running style.  This is because when you wear heels, all of your weight is pushed forward on your toes and the natural shape of your foot is constricted (“the Bad”).   Add to that the elevated position which means your calves are in a shortened position and you have a recipe for aches and pains (“the Ugly”).  But not all is lost! A little moderation can go a long way in being healthy and fashionable.  Here are a few tips to get started on your high-heeled makeover.

  • Ask a doctor. Consult with a runner-friendly podiatrist to evaluate your aches and pains.  Once you know the cause, it can be easily resolved with a few steps.  Most running specialty stores work with a network of medical professionals that support the running lifestyle.  One session can make a significant difference in confirming not only what the pain is, but why it is happening (my money is on the cute shoes:).
  • Commute ergonomically.  Cut back your high heel time by wearing supportive shoes while in transit to and from work.  This will reduce the impact of wearing heels while moving and give your feet and legs a break.  Wear the heels only when you really need to and avoid wearing them if you’re going to be standing for long periods of time.  Standing is one of the most fatiguing positions for the body and heels only add to it.  Create a collection of lower-heeled shoes and weave them into your new lifestyle.
  • Release it. Use a foam roll, the Stick, or a ball to perform a deep-tissue massage on your hips,  lower legs (calves at all angles), and feet (golf ball) at least twice a day.  This is especially useful if you spend the day in heels and then go running.  The transition from a high-heel position to the impact of running on a lower heel is very traumatic and 5 to 10 minutes of myofascial release with foam or other massage gadgets can help release the tightness in your muscles and reduce the risk of aches, pains, and injury.
  • Build a strong platform. Strengthen your feet by performing balance, core, and resistance exercises barefoot (be cautious if in a weight room).  Single leg standing, lunges, and squats will strengthen your feet   A little goes a long way, though, especially if you’re used to standing in a high heel position.  Start with one or two exercises and progress by adding one barefoot exercise per week.  When that gets easy, challenge yourself by balancing on an unstable object like a pillow, folded towel, balance disk, BOSU and pad while performing the exercises.

The key is to balance your love for high heels with your passion to run.  When you do, you’ll be fashionably fit.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny Hadfield

Co-Author, Marathoning for Mortals & Running for Mortals

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One thought on “High Heel Rehab for Runners

  1. Pingback: Walking Can Be The Best Exercise For Your Health |

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