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What heel height is best for you?

Biomechanics can be defined as the science of the movement of the body and how the body responds to forces. If you are curious like me you would want to know what this has to do with your feet. One illustration of how this is applied is in the biomechanics of the ankle joint which can determine what height of shoe is suitable for you. This is how it works:

At the early stage of each step, milliseconds after the foot strikes the ground, the ankle joint responds to the upward force from the ground, and performs almost simultaneously an up down movement and a side way movement. The foot appears to roll inwards at the heel. The fine balance of timing between these two movements contribute to determining the height of heel that is suitable for you i.e. maximum heel height that you can wear before you start developing excessive pressures in the balls of your feet. These pressures in turn can lead to the formation of corns and calluses. If you persistently suffer with corns and calluses on the balls of your feet the shoes you normally wear may be too high. The podiatrist or chiropodist can advise you on what heel height is appropriate for you.

You might be one of those people who wears low heel shoes but still develops corns and calluses on the balls of your feet. This might also be connected to movements that take place at the ankle joint during the early part of each step. The podiatrist can test and measure the movements and get the balance right for you. You will also be given advice on an appropriate shoe heel height or sometimes provided with a heel lift. These are devices made of various materials including cork and foam rubber which when placed in the heel part of the shoe will reduce the pressures in the balls of the feet. They do this by increasing the time it takes the ankle to perform an up down movement. So that the pressures in the forefoot are short-lived, lowering the risk of corn and callus build up.

If you suffer with corns calluses under the balls of your feet apart from removing them the podiatrist can advise you on skin care and footwear, provide protective padding and if necessary carry out a full biomechanical assessment to identify any poor alignments, muscle weakness, deformities or gait abnormalities that may be contributing to your problem. The podiatrist can also provide you with heel lifts, insoles and both off the shelf and custom made orthotics or shoe inserts.


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