By Christina DeBusk
Shin splints can be sharp or dull aggravating streaks of pain that run alongside the inside of your shinbone (also known as your tibia), going downward toward your ankle and up as far as your knee. Not only can they make it extremely uncomfortable to engage in any sort of cardiovascular activity that involves walking, jogging, or running, but they also impact your ability to take care of everyday chores, such as yard work or vacuuming, without wincing every time you place your foot on the ground.
Shin splints often occur when you overwork and inflame the muscles and bones in your lower leg, but there are also movement-related conditions that can be the cause of your discomfort. For instance, if your feet don’t have an arch (which is referred to as having flat feet), you may notice more pain in your shin area. Or, if you wear shoes that don’t have proper support for your feet, you might feel it more in your shinbone then, too. Fortunately, foot orthotics can help with all of these types of conditions and situations.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, foot orthotics are designed to “help align and stabilize your foot and ankle, taking stress off of your lower leg.”1 This makes them critical to effectively reducing, if not completely eliminating, the inflammation and pain that you may feel in this particular area of your body.
However, studies also show that foot orthotics can be extremely effective at preventing shin splints and other painful foot-related conditions, such as heel spurs and Achilles tendinitis. For instance, a comprehensive analysis published in Foot & Ankle International found four different studies that “provided evidence of a significant and reasonably sized effect in favor of foot orthoses.” It also found that foot orthotics provided better results than the over-the-counter shoe inserts that can be purchased at most any retail store or pharmacy.2
So, whether you suffer from shin splints now or want to prevent yourself from getting them in the future, a visit to your podiatrist may be just what you need to enjoy pain-free movements both today and tomorrow.
1American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Shin Splints.” OrhtoInfo. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00407. Updated May 2012. Accessed October 2014.
2Bisset L, Collins N, McPoil T, Vicenzino B. “Foot Orthoses in Lower Limb Overuse Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Foot & Ankle International. 2007:28(3);396-412.