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Question

I have recently been experiencing foot and shin pain with running. Do you think orthotics or shoe inserts will help?

Answer

Marion Blackman, MA, LAT, ATC

Pain with running can be a frustrating and painful problem for many, especially if you are a seasoned runner. Foot pain can have many contributing factors including poorly fitting shoes, overall fitness levels, running surfaces, and the shape of your feet. Those that are genetically blessed with flat feet (pes planus) or a high and often rigid arch (pes cavus) can be predisposed to pain associated with feet, ankles, shins, knees, etc. You can do a quick and simple assessment of your feet by standing barefoot in front of the mirror at home. Most already have some idea if you have ever had your feet measured at a shoe store.

Orthotics are shoe inserts that redistribute ground forces while standing, walking or running. There are many options from custom made to over the counter varieties. Custom made orthotics require a trained professional measuring your foot and correcting any malalignment involved. Over the counter orthotics can usually be found in any pharmacy, shoe store, etc. This can be a reasonable form of treatment in addition to lower extremity stretching, massage, anti-inflammatory medicine, icing after activity...and of course, new shoes!

If you are having persistent pain and have failed conservative management, consulting your physician may be the next step in your road to recovery process. They can prescribe and refer for custom orthotics. Good luck and happy trails.

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