Any time that you’re elevating a heel like you would in high heels, or like you would do in running shoes, you’re creating compensational patterns for your body that often leads to anterior, or lateral knee pain, often labled as patellofemoral inflamation or patellofemoral pain.
For my anatomy nerds you’ll enjoy this section, if you’re not big on anatomy feel free to skip over this.
When you elevate your heel, you’re eliminating your bodies natural ankle motions, specifically dorsi-flexion of the ankle (think of pulling your toe upwards).
Ankle dorsi-flexion increases the propusilve force in elite sprinters, so it’s really not something you want to detrain!
Whenever a joint is not acting like it’s supposed to, another joint has to compensate for what was lost.
It could be that when you’re squatting, or running, since your body is lacking the ability to dorsi-flex to full motion, your feet begin to turn outwards, creating an internal rotation at the knee joint, placing your knees into a valgus position that has been found to increase the liklihood of major knee injuries like ACL tears.
Losing any range of motion at your ankle will alter your whole lower body alignment, even influcing the movements of the lower lumbo-pelvic region, making the spine more mobile (curved spine), which ultimately decreases the ability to produce maximal force.
Stiffness is essential in all force production
Ankle Braces and Taping
For all of the same reasons above, we do not believe in over-using ankle braces and or ankle taping during play. Obviously if you have an injury, it’s imperative that you brace and tape your ankle so that you don’t reinjure the weak and damaged tendons/ligaments, at least until you are able to return the injuried limb to its previous mobility and strength.
Elevated heels, like in running shoes and heels in women, make us more quad dominant and put our bodies in less than optimal positions during sports and training. These deficiencies commonly lead to a variety of sports related and non-sports related injuries, i.e., ankle sprains, patellofemoral inflamation, the over diagnosing Osgood Schlatters, hamstring pulls, hip impingments and other similar injuries.
In all athletes that are training, especially if you’re training as intense as we are, invest in good TRAINING shoes! All of your major brands make shoes that are good for agility, cutting, and sprinting, and it’s usually labeled on the box. (The Local NIke Outlet has them for a great price!)
Cody Revel, CSCS
Owner & Founder of The Athlete Academy
Sports Performance Specialst & Speed Specialist