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Shin splints

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It’s not what the foot does when it lands that causes difficulties; it’s what the foot does after it lands that causes problems.  Excessive overpronation is a major cause for shin splints.  Pronation is the motion of the foot once it lands.  For most people the outside of the heel touches first and then the foot rolls inward.  The amount of inward rotation should be between 4-6 %.  Too flat of a foot or too high of an arch can bring on a number of leg and knee injuries.  Once the foot lands it flattens out, and the ankle rolls inward or pronates.  The tibia (shinbone) is forced to twist slightly in the opposite or outside direction, stretching on the calf muscles.  Too much twisting can lead to a stress fracture of the tibia.  In other words, too flat of a foot results in the foot rolling inward too much transferring much of the pounding into the inner portion of the lower leg resulting in shin splints.  Research shows that females are more likely to suffer from shin splints than males because their hips, on the average, are wider than mens.  Because of the wider hips, a women’s foot strike the ground at a greater angle resulting in overpronation.


As stated, 4-6 % pronation is ok.  More or less will lead to problems.  The flatter the arch the more support is needed.  If the heel tilts inward during running or if shoes appear distorted after you take them off with the heels tilted inward, moderate pronation occurs.  If the heel counters are broken down toward the inside, severe overpronation occurs.


                                        Overpronation and underpronation of the heels.


Underpronation is the action of the foot, once it lands, hardly rolls inward.  This person usually has a very high arch.  Again too high of an arch or too flat of a foot can lead to numerous problems such as shin, knee, hip and foot injuries.  To check your arches, give yourself the wet test (see photo on next page).  When you step dripping from the shower, stand normally, then step away and check your footprints.  If you leave an impression of your whole foot, arch and all, you have flat feet.  If what shows up is mostly ball and heel , your arches are high.  If your footprint shows something in between the two extremes, with a moderate amount of arch, you’re blessed with a normal foot that shouldn’t cause you any problems. 

                                                                        Wet Test



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