Right Shoe Can Protect Achilles Tendon. (Sports Injuries)

USA TODAY, February 2002 | Go to article overview

Right Shoe Can Protect Achilles Tendon. (Sports Injuries)


Athletes who experience painful Achilles tendon injuries could prevent them by being more careful when selecting athletic shoes, according to Michael K. Lowe, a foot and ankle surgeon in Salt Lake City, Utah, and team podiatrist for the NBA's Utah Jazz. "Athletic shoes that bend in the midfoot area lack proper support and put more pressure on the heel and Achilles tendon. If you can bend a shoe in the middle, it shouldn't be worn for any sport that requires running or jumping."

The Achilles connects the calf muscle to the heel bone and is the largest tendon in the body. Injuries occur when it is stretched excessively, causing severe inflammation or a tearing or rupture of the tendon. "When the middle of the sole in an athletic shoe collapses, the pressure is transferred from the midfoot area to the heel, which can stretch the Achilles tendon too much," he points out. "Eventually, Achilles tendonitis will result or, worse, a rupture that requires surgery."

Lowe says that excessive wear weakens midfoot support, so athletes should replace worn shoes on a regular basis to reduce injury risk. "Runners, for example, should replace their shoes every 350 to 400 miles. …

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