Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do elevated heels jack your spine?

http://www.mayfieldclinic.com
What a great semester break.  Three weeks of travel and some improvement in my lower back.  I have been able to resume running and that's a game changer.  When I returned home from the trip, I slipped on an old pair of Brooks PureGrit, which I wear for walkers.

It was immediate and refreshing to get back into those low heel-toe drop trail shoes. Getting the heel closer to the ground comes more naturally for me. Please don't misunderstand, I love Brooks shoes with ample cushioning.  The thought for years is that cushioning is good and makes for less impact on the joints and back.

But based on the minimalist  movement (and the excellent Brooks PureProject line) I have come to think that cushioning comes with a detrimental aspect that may affect us all. Cushioned shoes usually feature elevated heels, which creates an unnatural foot gait. That may be bringing undue pressure where we want it least - on the discs in our backs, where pain can run rampant.

Check out my buddy at left, note the position of the feet and relation to the spine. Now, picture the heels on my buddy jacked up a few degrees.  Might that not affect the angle of impact just above the hip joints?

I might be oversensitive due to the fact I have a bad L5/S1 disc and it has recently flared a bit.  So I remain conscious about how I run, the way I carry my body, and how I can minimize further damage. There's much more to be said about this topic, (check out the Brooks point of view at http://www.brooksrunning.com/barefoot/barefoot,default,pg.html)but it's ripe for discussion as we blast into our 2013 running agenda.




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