Our feet are amazingly strong when you think about all that they endure in a day: walking your kids to the bus stop, carrying the weight of your groceries, and serving as the bedrock of your exercise endeavors.
The feet are the foundation of your entire kinetic chain, and as such often withstand significant and prolonged pressure.
Despite their innate strength, your feet sometimes face repetitive strain injuries, resulting in continual pain. Three of the most common include Achilles tendinitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and posterior tibial tendinitis.1
Achilles tendinitis is a repetitive strain injury associated with your Achilles tendon, which stretches along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes.2 This particular condition generally results in pain in the heel, especially first thing in the morning when you haven’t moved in awhile. You may notice some swelling in the area surrounding the foot that increases the more you move about your day.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Your tarsal tunnel is the slightly indented area just below your inside ankle bone. If you reach down and touch yours now, you will feel the flexor retinaculum, a ligament that extends from your ankle bone to your heel that helps protect the posterior tibial nerve, as well as all of the blood vessels and soft tissues below it.3 Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve is compressed, resulting in pain throughout the tarsal tunnel area.
Posterior tibial tendinitis
The posterior tibial tendon connects your calf muscle (the muscle on the backside of your lower leg) to various bones in your foot, namely the ones on the inner and underside that are responsible for keeping your foot arched and supporting you while you walk.4 Thus, tendinitis can occur in this area from overuse. Some sports activities such as basketball and tennis can contribute to this condition due to increased impact.
Avoiding repetitive strain injuries
While you may not be able to prevent all injuries, you can reduce the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries to your feet by doing the following:
- Use proper posture when you walk so that your feet impact the ground in the most natural, healthy way possible.
- Engage in lower body exercises that aren’t as hard on your feet, such as cycling, swimming, and rowing.
- Regularly stretch your lower leg area to maintain maximum flexibility and reduce any possible issues caused by overly tense muscles.
- Focus chiropractic care or massage therapy on your lower leg and foot area to ease tension in the muscles and lessen your risk of injury.
- Wear orthotics to correct any foot dysfunction or abnormalities.
Don’t let a foot injuries slow you down—follow these suggestions and you may be able to avoid some of the most common culprits.
1 Cluett J. “Overuse syndromes: information about repetitive strain injury.” About health. http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sportsmedicine/a/overuse.htm. Published Dec. 19, 2014. Accessed May 31, 2015.
2 Kadakia A. “Achilles tendinitis.” OrthoInfo. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00147. Accessed May 31, 2015.
3 American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. “Tarsal tunnel syndrome.” http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome.htm. Published Aug. 17, 2006. Accessed May 31, 2015.
4 Kadakia A. “Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.” OrthoInfo. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00166. Published Nov. 19, 2011. Accessed May 31, 2015.