Plantar Fasciitis & Shin Splints
Two common conditions can benefit from the attention of an orthopaedist or sports medicine specialist:
The thick band of tissues that runs lengthwise down the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel to your toes, is the plantar fascia. When this tissue gets inflamed, you can end up with severe pain in the part of your heel that bears the most weight.
The pain is stabbing rather than aching, and usually is most noticeable in the morning when you get up, after you stand for a long period of time, or after going for a run. It’s extremely common in competitive runners, especially if the foot isn’t supported with the right kind of footwear.
You can help prevent bouts of plantar fasciitis pain by stretching your feet and arches well before running and wearing high-quality running shoes that support your arch. In most cases, physical therapy, icing, stretching, and resting will resolve plantar fasciitis. In rare cases, arthroscopic surgery can be done to release a muscle connected too tightly to the heel bone.
The large bone in the front of your leg, known as the tibia, is particularly vulnerable if you run, dance, or serve in the military. This is particularly likely if your routines change frequently, putting added strain on the places where the tendons connect your muscles to the bone.
Pain along the tibia and front of the lower leg is often referred to as shin splints, although the proper name is medial tibial stress syndrome. It’s usually worse during running or exercise, and subsides once the stress is over. However, ignoring shin splints can lead to increased risk of stress fracture in your tibia.
Fortunately, shin splints are another injury that responds well to conservative treatment, rest, icing, stretching before exercising, and wearing good running shoes. This can often mitigate the issue, and you can enjoy marathoning without lower leg pain.