running shoes and heel problems

Over the past few years there has been a trend for running shoe companies to make their shoes with lower heels, and a lower “heel pitch”. The “heel pitch” is the angle from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is determined by the thickness of the material under the heel as compared to the thickness of the material under the ball of the foot. Prior to this trend, the heel was elevated about a half inch in most running shoes.heel pitch

Recent designs have reduced the standard 1/2″ heel pitch to zero. This may have been influenced by the fad to run in “barefoot”-styled shoes.

For much of the population this isn’t necessarily a problem. However, for people who have chronic Achilles Tendon tightness or tendonitis, lower heels can be problematic. The lower heel pitch may put stress on the Achilles tendon, resulting in heel and/or arch discomfort.

If you experience new symptoms of heel and/or arch discomfort immediately after changing to new shoes, it may be related to the lower heel height.

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