You’ve done the weekend warrior thing, and now you have pain in your heels or shin splints because your feet and legs were not quite up to the demands you placed on them. If you consult a medical professional, they will probably recommended rest from certain activities to let them heal, and rest is important. Does that mean exercising with foot problems is out of the question? Not at all. It just means you need to get creative.
Problems That Can Trip You Up
Heel pain is often a result of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament band under your foot. It is common in those who have a flat foot structure, where the arch is not defined and your foot rolls too far to the inside as you move through a step. The ligament is overstretched and pulls on the heel bone, causing inflammation or tiny tears. The result is pain, especially when taking those first few steps after rest.
With shin splints, the shin bone, tendons and muscles in your lower leg become irritated and painful. This usually occurs when you put more stress on them than they are used to—such as that rousing game of tag football with your teenagers, a new running route with lots of hills, or even a mad dash for the bus.
Other foot issues that can hamper your movement include bunions or hammertoes, ankle sprains, arthritis pain, and fractures. Even small problems like corns or blisters can make it difficult to walk, run and jump. Exercising with foot problems like these can be painful and even cause more harm—unless you find a way to do it that doesn’t stress the already painful structures.
Get Creative with Sore Feet and Exercise
The place to start is with a call to our office. Chiropodist Tony Abbott is an avid runner who understands the mechanics of your feet and legs and the problems that can develop. We can help you determine exactly what is causing your pain, along with what type of activities will aggravate it and which may actually help.
For example, exercising with a bunion will not make it worse, but walking and running could cause it to hurt more. So look for movements that get you off your feet but still involve range of motion and cardio – like swimming or bicycling. Do a lot of stretching too, especially those that keep the big toe as flexible as possible.
Plantar fasciitis and heel pain is trickier, but you could try an elliptical machine here. Your foot maintains constant, stable contact with this machine at all times, so it doesn’t roll inward as much. If you do want to keep walking, custom orthotics are available to help correct the faulty mechanics of your stride. These inserts for your shoes can allow you to walk without putting so much pressure on the ligament, minimizing the damage and the pain.
There are also many resistance machine workouts that combine range of motion movements and cardio. For example, do a set of leg extensions, leg curls, and a cardio booster on a stationary bike, and then a chest press + lat pull + rowing machine cardio to work your upper body more. Doing three or four different combinations will give you a full-body workout. Don’t repeat these resistance workouts every day, though; give your muscles 48 hours to adjust and heal between resistance sessions.
The Path to Healthier, Pain-free Feet Leads to Our Door
Exercising with foot problems can be a challenge, but it can be a fun one. Let Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic help you by identifying your problem and helping you design an exercise routine that is safe for your feet and good for you. You will discover many fun, creative ways to exercise, and have the peace of mind that you are doing what’s best for your feet at the same time. Call our office in Collingwood, Ontario, today at (705) 444-9929 to set up an appointment. You can also request one online, and keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.