polo r Wearing High Heels Without A Break Can Lead To Tendon
Wearing High Heels Without A Break Can Lead To Tendon, Hamstring Woes
March 25, 1986By Colette Bouchez, Special to the News ( 1986 Colette Bouchez. Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.)
If youre a regular exerciser or even a part time fitness mover and shaker than you probably have little trouble following a night in high heels with a morning workout in exercise footwear or sneakers. Women who wear shoes with varying heel heights and who exercise regularly run a much smaller risk of leg injuries when participating in programs such as aerobics, according to experts.
However, those who primarily wear high heels (2 inches or more) and who seldom go barefoot or change to flats, do not have this same muscle flexibility. According to podiatrists like Myles Schneider and Mark D.
The calf muscles become shorter if a woman wears high heels for a prolonged period of time. This in turn leads to drastic muscle imbalance in which the back of the leg is a lot tighter and more contracted than the front of the leg, according to Schneider and Sussman.
This, they add, is what can lead to a myriad of lower leg problems, especially if a woman suddenly jumps into sneakers and gets involved in an exercise program before her muscles are adequately restretched.
In addition, the doctors say that persistent or continued tightness of the Achilles tendon, calf muscle complex or hamstring muscle can lead not only to leg problems but to lower back difficulties.
Because even the best health clubs often overlook a complete check of muscle flexibility before allowing members to begin an aerobics class or take part in other club workout programs, the experts caution us to be aware of our own limits in order to minimize the risk of injury.
Sussman and Schneider offer these simple tests.
To test for tight calf muscles: Lie on your back on a flat surface. Without moving your leg,
pull your foot back as far as you can at the ankle joint. Good flexibility means at least a 10 degree motion arc from a perpendicular starting point. Less than 10 degrees means your calf is tight and can easily be injured.
To test for tight hamstring muscles: Lie flat on your back on a flat surface. Keeping the entire leg straight and knee locked, raise the leg straight up in the air. Good flexibility means being able to raise the leg to a 75 degree position to your hip. Not being able to straighten the leg at all in this position means a dangerously tight hamstring muscle that could be an invitation to injury.
Exercises to correct either of these conditions include gradual stretches like the toe touch, done with one leg crossed over the other in a standing position. Also useful are strengthening exercises that utilize weights on the feet and ankles.
As with all exercises, the doctors advise that when checking flexibility or attempting to restretch muscle groups, stop as soon as you feel pain or strain, hold still for several seconds and then stretch again only if the pain stops and you can feel the muscle fibers starting to loosen.
In addition to the strengthening and stretching exercises, Sussman and Schneider also offer these tips for minimizing injury to a shortened or tight leg muscle.
Heel heights, (2 inches, 3 inches, 4 inches or higher) should be rotated during the course of a week, gradually decreasing the height.
Change shoes, and if possible, heel heights during the course of the day.
When not wearing high heels, wear flat running shoes with rounded toes.
The day after a night in high heels the best thing you can do to help your legs recover is spend time in flats. This will help to restretch the Achilles tendon and prevent permanent damage.