I used to love wearing heels all the time, and then I started getting terrible foot pain all the time. I visited my podiatrist, and she showed me how much damage I was doing to my feet. She showed me how much better my feet would be able to react if I wore shoes with proper arch support and convinced me to try some sensible shoes. It made such a difference. My boyfriend says I'm a whole new person - a new person who doesn't complain about her aching feet all day long. Now I proudly wear sensible shoes and enjoy my life!
Shin splints are painful and preventable, and runners — the people who tend to get these, according to popular belief — take steps daily to avoid letting the condition develop. But running isn't the only way you can end up with shin splints. Any motion that results in your feet hitting the ground can lead to shin splints even if you don't run. This can be very annoying if you're sidelined from the sport because you didn't realize you were susceptible to shin splints. If this happens to you, a sports podiatrist can help you heal and take measures to prevent the shin splints from recurring.
Shin Splints Are Due to Pressure and Impact
When your feet hit the ground, the force of the impact travels up through your shins, to your knees, and so on. When the force is too strong, the muscles in front of your shin bones can become inflamed and swell, creating additional pressure on the bone next to them. What counts as too strong differs for everyone; for one person, walking a few more miles than normal during a week might be too much, while another person might get them after a dance lesson during which they were wearing shoes with little support. Don't worry; the chances of you developing shin splints just because you did a little more activity are low. But excess activity, way beyond what you're used to and done repeatedly, can be a problem.
Even Walking Can Be Too Tough on Your Legs
You read that last section right: Walking can lead to shin splints. Just because you walk a lot at work or regularly go hiking doesn't mean you aren't susceptible to shin splints. Maybe you were looking for a new place to live and spent the past two weeks walking around countless neighbourhoods, or you tried hiking on a paved path after years of hiking on unpaved (and softer) ground. The point is, you did something to exceed the normal amount of pressure you place on your feet and legs by a huge amount, and your shins were unprepared.
What You Wear on Your Feet Counts
The pressure and impacts experienced by your legs and feet are a combination of two things: the stepping and landing action and the base or support that cushions your feet when they land on the ground. This is why you find different shoes for different activities. The construction of the shoe and its insole help mitigate the literal impact of the activity on your feet depending on the motion needed. Runners have running shoes, basketball players have basketball shoes, dancers have dance shoes (yes, even those help your feet handle movement, as thin as the shoes can sometimes seem), and so on. You can also find generic and customised insoles and other orthotics to make the landing even better.
If you're experiencing pain in your shins or are just concerned about avoiding shin splints to begin with, see a sports podiatrist. Even if you aren't a professional athlete, you can benefit from the advice and treatment of someone trained to specifically handle foot and leg problems related to physical activity.
For more information on sports podiatry, contact a professional near you.Share