Is Your Choice in Footwear Causing Shin Splints?

Is Your Choice in Footwear Causing Shin Splints?

You love being physically active, and you’re on your legs a lot. You’ve noticed an ache in your lower legs that comes and goes, but lately, it’s been present more than it’s been absent. What’s going on? You may have developed shin splints. 

Our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists with Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine often see patients with shin splints. Your legs below the knee may feel sore, especially when you’re exercising. 

Once you’ve been diagnosed, we provide a comprehensive program not only to heal your shin splints but also to prevent them in the future. When you’ve had them once, you don’t want to be sidelined that way again. 

What are shin splints? 

A shin splint is an umbrella term that covers several types of injuries. Your muscles, tendons, and/or bone tissues have become inflamed. You may have developed tiny tears in them if the injury has progressed. You could even have a stress fracture. 

Who’s prone to shin splints?

You’re more prone to shin splints if you play sports that involve running or engage in activities that place a lot of stress on your legs, such as dancing. 

Shin splints also occur when you suddenly place more stress on leg muscles than they’re used to — for instance, if you’re trying to lose weight and suddenly increase your exercise levels.  

How your footwear can contribute to shin splints 

The shoes you wear can be a contributing factor to your injury if you’ve developed shin splints. Here are some ways to keep it from happening again.  

Wear shoes designed for your sport or activity 

First, wear the right shoes for your level of activity or sports participation. Be sure to select running shoes if you’ve decided to start running and are new to it. Sneakers made for other sports may be a contributing factor in developing shin splints if you’re a runner

Know the shape of your footprint and select shoes accordingly 

Your footprint helps you decide the type of shoe you need when exercising or engaging in sports. 

If your foot is flat, your whole foot touches the floor when you stand or walk. If your arches are very high, only the ball of your foot and your heel touch the floor. Your footprint is neutral when you’re in between those two extremes. 

A sports store can tell you the shape of your footprint if you can’t determine it on your own. 

If you’re flat-footed, you tend to overpronate, meaning your foot tends to turn inward as you move. You should have a high-stability shoe with extra dense material on the inside of the middle of the shoe to help prevent overpronation

If you’re serious about your sport or activity, get help from a shoe store that is knowledgeable about your activity — for instance, a running store if you’re starting a running regimen. 

If you have flat feet, we recommend custom-made orthotics to help remove the stress from your lower legs. Bring your orthotics to the store and they’ll help you select a shoe that promotes

stability for your legs and ankles.  

If you have extremely high arches and the middle part of your foot doesn’t touch the floor, you need shoes that have support for your arches and that have a lot of cushioning to absorb the extra impact on the ball and heel of your feet. 

Get new shoes at appropriate intervals

Your old shoes, no matter how good they feel when you put them on, may no longer be providing the cushioning your feet need.

Shoes that don’t have appropriate cushioning may lead to problems with your gait. Running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles. If you run about 15 miles a week, you need new shoes often — every 5-8 months. 

If you’re large-boned and heavy, you’ll get fewer miles from your shoes than someone who’s wiry and small-boned. How do you feel after running? Do your legs or feet hurt? You likely need new shoes. 
Call the office or book an appointment online with Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine today for the most advanced treatment available for shin splints. We have offices in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee.

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