Spring loaded heels

We get frequent questions about the various “new” shoe designs that are heavily marketed online. In response to these questions;

There are a few companies that are marketing shoes with spring loaded heels.
The premise of the shoe design logic is that it absorbs shock at the heel. While shock absorption is often a good thing at heel strike, it is not that good immediately following heel strike. The springs that are embedded in the shoe’s heel can have the effect of irritating the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel when the heel drops lower than usual as the springs compress. The moment of time between when the heel compresses and the weight transfers to the front of the foot is the critical potential problem time.
The function of the shoe may cause a sudden loading of the mid-foot resulting from this temporary negative heel height. If this happens, it can cause moderate to severe injuries of the heel cord and the ligaments that run along the bottom of the foot.

For patients who have tight calves or a tendency to experience arch pain or other foot pain, we advise consulting an orthotist or pedorthist prior to purchasing this type of shoe.

Footco Continuing Education

Due to the demand for local continuing education credit opportunities, Footco is now offering a fourth year of live courses in your state.

The  2018 Lower Extremity Biomechanics Education Seminars have begun!

“Orthotic Design in Theory and Practice”

*This course has officially been approved by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics (ABC) for (6) Category 1 Scientific CMEs.

This is now a traveling course. To arrange a presentation at your facility, contact Tim at 312-409-2175 or tporcelli@earthlink.net

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.

How frequently should my orthoses be checked?

Orthoses should be checked every two years, or sooner. Your feet change over time, and your orthoses may need to be adjusted to reflect the changes.  In many cases an in-office adjustment is all that’s necessary to update your orthoses. In other cases where there has been a significant change with your feet, re-casting may be necessary. If you are wondering about a recheck visit, please call to talk it over.

recent research relevant to muscle function

Over the past couple years, a number of patients in our clinic have reported that they experienced increased muscle fatigue and balance problems when they began taking various statins to reduce cholesterol. These same patients reported an improvement in muscle function and balance when they discontinued use of the statins.This seemed random at the time, but  a recent study of 150,000 patients over 6 years draws some strong correlations between statin potency and muscle damage. The article has not been printed yet, but it was previewed in a recent O&P journal.

Watch for or search:

Hoffman KB, Kraus C, Dimbil M, et al. A survey of the FDA’s AERS database regarding muscle and tendon adverse events linked to the statin drug class. PLoS One. Aug. 22, 2012.

This is a significant finding.

Clinical questions


Patients and health care practitioners bring many questions to the clinic regarding orthoses and shoes. Current topics of interest are MBT shoes, Vibram Five Finger shoes,and the rapidly changing running shoe designs.

There are also shifting trends in exercise programs.The vast number of choices for exercise programs can be overwhelming.

Please feel free to post any questions you may have regarding orthoses, shoes, exercises, etc.