Do flat feet cause shin splints? How to prevent and treat shin splints? Are shin splints painful? If these questions confuse you, we are here to help you out. In this article, we will discuss how flat feet are related to shin splints in detail.
Flat feet come with multiple complications that include different foot deformities, ankle and knee pain, balance issues, and many more. Shin splints are also one of these extremities induced by flat feet due to overpronation.
What are shin splints?
Before jumping towards the link between flat feet and shin splints, let’s talk about shin splints a bit. Shin split is typically referred to as a pain in the lower leg area along the shank bone’s inner area (shinbone). This condition is most common in but not limited to athletes and players.
Shin splints are also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), in which the muscles, tendons, and sometimes bones around the shinbone become inflamed. This inflammation leads to pain that could vary from minor to severe, depending on how complicated the condition is.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Shin splints or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, includes the following symptoms. The condition could have one or more symptoms; however, pain along the tibial bone is the basic indication in all shin split cases.
- Sharp or mild inner leg pain
- Mild swelling
- Foot pain
- Sore to touch
If you experience any such symptoms, it’s better to consult a doctor immediately. If left untreated, things could get worse, ultimately leading to more complications.
Flat feet and Shin splints
Shin splints have a direct link with flat feet. However, it must be noted that not everyone with flat feet experiences shin splints. It’s one of the multiple complications caused by flat feet that could be highly painful for many.
In flat feet, the foot loses the arch resulting in a flattened foot base. Due to excessive physical activity, these flattened arches can cause foot overpronation. This over pronated condition enhances the stress on the lower leg that ultimately leads to shin splints.
In flat feet, the foot tends to roll inward when you run or walk, which causes the shinbone to twist slightly; this also puts stress on the tibial tendon.
In addition to flat feet, there are several other causes of shin splints as well.
Excessive stress is the main trigger of shin splints; the same goes for other physical activities. If you work harder (in the case of athletes or players) and execute any weight-bearing activity, the stress of your feet and legs is enhanced manifold.
This stress could also cause shin splints. Moreover, exercising on rough or uneven ground can also seed shin splints.
Another possible cause of shin splints is wearing incompatible shoes. The shoes don’t cause shin splints in the first place, but if you do any stressful or hard physical activity while wearing mismatched shoes, it can weaken the tibial tendons.
Shin splints cause around 13% of foot injuries; that is why if you’re a runner, athlete, or dancer, it’s highly recommended to get the best compatible shoes according to your foot shape.
Here are the best treatments to help your shin splints. However, if you have any other medical condition, be cautious not to use any of this treatment without your doctor’s consultation.
The best thing to soothe your shin splints is rest because mostly the shin splints are caused by enhanced activity. So it’s highly recommended to take a rest if you feel any pain due to shin splints.
Another best remedy for your shin splints is to ice the area until the pain is gone. Use an ice pack and put it onto the affected area for 20 minutes. Don’t apply the ice directly over the skin. Repeat the icing several times a day to get maximum relief.
If rest and icing don’t help your shin spits pain, then the next best solution is to take some anti-inflammatory drugs. There are many such drugs available in the market. Some of the most recommended are ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
Stretching exercises can also help your shin splints. However, these are not instant remedies as your shin splints take time to adjust to these workout techniques.
Incompatible shoes can enhance the onset of shin splints. So it’s better to use supportive shoes if you feel any pain in your legs or shank bone.
Prevent flat feet
If your shin splints are caused by flat feet, you need to take care of your flat feet first. Here are the best remedies to help your flat feet.
Obesity or over-weight is one of the major causes of flat feet. If you have a weight more than normal, there are high chances of you getting flat feet, or it can also worsen your flat foot’s condition. So it’s highly recommended to lose some weight to relax your flat feet.
If you lose weight, it’s going to relieve many other health conditions along with flat feet. As the weight goes down, it provides better blood flow to the feet and disperses the pressure.
Custom made orthotics
The next thing to help relieve your flat feet problem is custom made orthotics. Orthotics are semi-rigid shoe inserts and support the foot arch while standing, walking, or running. So if you’re someone who spends a lot of time walking around or standing at a spot, custom made orthotics are the best solution for you.
Orthotics help your flat feet by redistributing and dispersing the bodyweight evenly, minimizing the burden from your feet.
Who doesn’t know the health benefits of exercise? A 15 minutes workout daily can have countless health benefits. For flat feet, exercises have proven to be one of the best remedies.
If you don’t want to go for professional physical therapy for your flat feet, here are the best exercises to do at home to help your flat feet.
1. Heel stretches
The first workout technique to relieve flat feet is heel stretches. Heel stretching can help increase the feet flexibility by regularly working out the feet muscles.
How to do:
- The first thing you need to do is stand with your hands resting on something (wall, chair, handle) at your eye or shoulder level.
- Then put one leg forward and the other one extended behind you.
- Put the pressure on the heels and press both heels firmly onto the ground.
- Keep your back straight and push your front leg downward by bending it and put your body force onto the wall or chair in front of you. It will stretch your back leg and Achilles tendons.
- Hold this stretched position for 25 to 30 seconds (it’s better to start with a shorter time span and then gradually increase it)
- Repeat this process for the other leg.
- Do each side a minimum of 4 times.
Tip: Wear tight clothes to minimize any huddles while stretching.
2. Arch lifts
The next exercise which might help you relieve flat feet symptom in arch lifts. This is a very basic and simple workout technique, and just like other mentioned exercises, you don’t need any equipment for this one.
How to do:
- Stand straight onto the ground and make sure your feet are directly underneath your hips.
- Make sure your toes are touching the ground the entire time.
- Lift your feet from inwards and put all the weight on the outer edges of the feet. But don’t let your toes lift off the ground.
- Lift your feet from inside as much as you can.
- Then relax your feet. Repeat it 10 -15 times.
- This way, you will train the arch muscles to have more flexibility.
- You can also take pauses in between to make your feet adjust. For instance, do 2 to 3 sessions of 10-15 repetitions.
Tip: Stand near a wall to prevent any possible fall or injury.
We hope that the above mentioned information helps you better understand the link between shin splints and flat foot. If you have any suggestions or queries regarding shin splints, feel free to contact our team of experts. We are more than happy to help you out!
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