As racing season picks up across the country many runners are increasing their speed and distance to get ready for the big day. As we increase speed and distance it is quite common to develop a one or more common painful conditions. Shin splints are a common culprit in runners and are second in occurrence only to knee pain. Everyone knows healing a bout of shin splints takes time out of your training schedule but few people know that preventing them is possible!
Current research shows that the two most important factors in predicting your chance of getting shin splints is being a young female and ‘navicular drop.’ Sorry girls you may not be in control of that one but for the other there is hope. In normal terms navicular drop means a collapsing arch (pronating your foot) or having a flat foot. Many runners may have a normal arch while standing but the foot is a fantastic dynamic structure that changes everything while moving especially running. Some of us may have a hidden ‘pronated’ foot during our running stride. When our foot pronates while running our foot depends on a small group of relatively weak muscles to support the arch! When these muscles get fatigued or stretched too far pain develops near their origin in the lower leg (painful shin splints). Therefore preventing arch collapse (even a small amount of collapse) while running can prevent painful shin splints.
We can prevent pronation through proper shoes and inserts called orthotics. Your best source for inserts is to get custom orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist. These devices match your specific foot and support the arch the way your bones should. If you are sufffering from shin splints or foot pain, please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary Friedlander or Dr. Jay Lasrson at Sole Foot & Ankle Specialists.