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Runners! Fifteen Centimeters can make a Big Difference.

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

Written by, Darren Scherbain (B.A. Kinesiology)

Fifteen centimeters might not seem like a big deal when running 5 km,10 km, 21.1 km or 42.2 km.

When it comes to peak performance those 15 cm can make all the difference. It's the small details that are the foundation and stepping stones to progress.

What's the distance between your heel and ball of your foot?

Roughly 15 cm.

Have you ever wondered why your calf muscles are still so tight even after stretching


The culprit may be tonus- continuous and partial contraction of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

When doing a gastrocnemius (calf) stretch that the pivot point is the heel and not mid foot; as a traditional heel drop off a curb. This 15 cm will change the movement arm and its effect on the ankle joint.The movement arm and pivot point at mid foot will cause an eccentric (lengthening ) contraction on the gastrocnemius muscle.

You will ”feel ” the traditional heel drop, because the muscle is contracting eccentrically. An eccentric contraction has the potential to generate up to three times the amount of force as a concentric contraction.

Solution - pivot point should be the heel.

The effect of tonus is the gastrocnemius may be the cause of knee inflammation and discomfort.