Beware of the Flat Shoe.
I feel compelled to share my injury story because it just might save your Achilles. Besides, I always appreciate it when people share their experiences, so when I’m scouring the Internet with my symptoms, I can find answers! Or at least I can get some ideas to share with my doctor. They love that.
A couple weeks ago, I went for a short jog, just three easy miles (I’m not even training for anything!). I felt pain in the lower calf area of my left leg after the first mile. I kept running because running sometimes hurts and I was waiting for it to go away. But it didn’t go away; it got worse. I walked the last half-mile while I tried to figure out where this crap was coming from.
The pain wasn’t responding to the RICE plan (rest, ice, compression and elevation), so I started to worry. My worst thought was that it was a blood clot because they have occurred in my family. I avoided stretching and massaging, just in case. After a week, it was feeling a little better, so I (stupidly) went for another little jog. This time, it was real. I finished up the run and iced it when I got home. The next morning, my leg was bruised and aching and now it was also burning. I could barely walk; it was time to see a doctor.
I didn’t have a blood clot, thank goodness. But I had a partial tear in my Achilles and was put in a boot for four weeks. Bummer City, USA. I’ve been in a boot before, and it’s not just the four weeks of hobbling around that’s hard. It’s learning how to run again when the darn thing comes off. But given the choice between a boot or a full-blown rupture, well, that’s a no-brainer.
After talking to my doc, she and I determined this might be a result of wearing flat summer sandals that put undue strain on my lower leg. I have very high arches and wearing really flat shoes is asking a lot of my feet, not to mention my calves and tendons. I think many of us wear these types of shoes because we think they are better for us than heels, but maybe not. I think the extremes — very flat or very high heels — can be hazardous, especially if you also ask your feet and legs to go running. Lesson learned.
So, beware of the cute flat shoes! Personally, I would only indulge if they give you proper support. And if they don’t, wear them sparingly. Also, listen to your body; do not run through pain, even for a mile. If you aren’t careful, you might end up trading in those trendy slides for an ugly boot. — Amie