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Achilles injury and footwear

Article by Doug James (intraining physiotherapist and podiatrist)
Article by Doug James (intraining physiotherapist and podiatrist)

Achilles injuries and your footwear choice

Footwear can be a contributing factor to many injuries, and Achilles tendon injuries are often affected by your shoe choice. If you are currently suffering from an Achilles tendon injury (such as tendinitis / tendinosis, or bursitis) there are a number of footwear factors to consider.

Heel pitch

Many running shoes have a 10mm heel pitch (ie the heel cushioning is 10mm thicker than the forefoot cushioning). This tends to help reduce stress on the Achilles tendon by raising the heel higher towards the calf muscle. Running in shoes with very low or no heel drop can increase the discomfort felt in the tendon, particularly if you have tight calves.

Heel and ankle cuff height

DJ Shoe hee cuff height
Heel cup height on left may aggravate your Achilles

The height of the ankle cuff can impact an Achilles tendon by placing undue pressure directly on the tendon . While a higher ankle cuff often feels more stable, it may also exert pressure on the tendon, exacerbating symptoms.

Heel cup shape

While a narrow heel cup may help reduce heel slippage inside the shoe, it may result in pinching of the Achilles tendon. Compare the angled and rounded heel counters in the two shoes shown below. An irritated Achilles may find relief in a more rounded heel cup.

Notice width of heel cup between two shoes
Notice width of heel cup between two shoes


This was a brief snapshot of some footwear considerations to look out for that may impact your Achilles. If you have injury concerns or experiencing Achilles tendon pain, it is worth seeing a podiatrist at intraining Running Injury Clinic to have your injury, footwear and gait assessed.

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