There are several painful conditions that result from physical activity or overuse of the feet, joints, and muscles of the lower leg. These common foot ailments, including shin splints, turf toe, and foot imbalances, are physically uncomfortable and are disruptive to a person’s regular activities. Each of these conditions can lead to greater pain throughout the body and can have long-lasting consequences on a person's health and physical wellbeing. These ailments will be examined in further detail, as well as the risk factors and greater complications that can arise from these lower body injuries, and how foot orthotics can effectively prevent these conditions from occurring, allowing individuals to take part in the activities they enjoy without lower body pain.
What are shin splints?
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, also more commonly known as shin splints, is a common exercise-related injury. Shin splints are characterized by acute pain along the tibia (shin bone), typically along the inner edge where the muscle attaches to the bone. Shin splints occur when the tendons and muscles around the shin bone become inflamed.
What causes shin splints?
Shin splints are common in athletes and people who are involved in moderate to intense physical activities. Shin splints often occur in runners and dancers, military recruits, as well as individuals who participate in activities like basketball, soccer, or tennis. Any activity that is characterized by a repeated pounding motion of the legs and feet creates a strain on the bones and muscles of the lower body. Sudden changes in intensity, frequency, or duration of physical activity is often the cause of shin splints. When the body is not familiar with the stress of a high impact activity, inflammation can occur and become extremely painful.
Shin splints are known as a cumulative stress disorder, where the muscles, bones, and connective tissues become overworked over time. Excessive force of high-impact activities leads the muscles to swell, which exerts more pressure on the shin bone. The increased pressure is what causes the pain and inflammation associated with shin splints.
What are the symptoms of shin splints?
The pain of shin splints is localized in the front of the leg, between the knee and ankle. The main symptoms of shin splints include:
- Pain along the inner and outer shin area
- Either stabbing, shooting pains, or a dull aching
- Muscle pain
- Pain that increases during exercise
- Mild swelling in the lower leg
- Weak, tender feet
- Shin pain that is sore to the touch
- Tenderness that lasts after ceasing physical activity
What is turf toe?
Turf toe is a sprain of the joint at the base of the big toe. When the toe is repeatedly bent upwards, it can cause jamming of the joint around the big toe and may cause damage to the surrounding tendons and ligaments.
What causes turf toe?
Turf toe is named for sports like football, which are played on artificial turf and are often the cause of the injury. Other sports that are commonly associated with turf toe include basketball, soccer, dance, martial arts, and wrestling. Activities that involve repeatedly pushing off of the ground, running or jumping are typically the cause of turf toe. The combination of upward bending and pressure from pushing off come together to cause a turf toe injury.
What are the symptoms of turf toe?
Turf toe is typically caused by a sudden trauma as opposed to an ongoing strain. Athletes who suffer from turf toe are often aware of exactly when they became injured. Symptoms begin suddenly and will typically become worse over time. Some of the common symptoms of turf toe include:
- Pain around the ball of the foot
- Reduced range of motion in the foot
- Difficulty walking
- Trouble balancing
- Pain present when moving the big toe towards the body
- Tenderness in the big toe and surrounding area
- Swelling of the toe
What are foot imbalances?
A foot imbalance is a biomechanical error in the way we stand or walk. Foot imbalances are common and increase with age as years of walking and standing weaken the feet. There are several main types of foot imbalances, including overpronation and supination.
What is overpronation?
The term pronation refers to the inward rolling of the foot that occurs when walking. Pronation is a normal movement and is part of the natural gait. Overpronation occurs when the foot excessively rolls inwards, caused by fallen arches or flat feet. When overpronators walk or run, the heel hits the ground and the foot rolls inwards and places the weight on the inner edge of the foot rather than the ball of the foot as it should. When overpronation is present, the foot begins to flatten, and the tendons, muscles, and ligaments on the underside of the foot become stretched out.
What is supination?
Supination results when the foot excessively rolls onto its outer edge when walking or running. Supination, also called underpronation, is the opposite of overpronation. Supination occurs when the shock of the gait is absorbed by the outside edge of the foot and the lower leg. Excessive strain is placed on the ankle and can lead to an ankle injury.
What causes foot imbalances?
While some people have feet that are naturally inclined to overpronation or supination, foot imbalances are most commonly caused as feet change with use over time. The majority of individuals will have some type of foot imbalance by the time they reach their 40’s. Two common biomechanical causes of foot imbalances are high arches and flat feet. People with very high arches are inclined to supination while individuals with fallen arches or flat feet are predisposed to overpronation.
What are the symptoms of foot imbalances?
Foot imbalances can present in a number of ways, depending on the severity and on a person’s activity level. An athlete will display different symptoms than an average pedestrian. However, there are some common symptoms of overpronation and supination which include:
- Heel pain
- Arch pain or tenderness on the bottom of the foot
- Corns and calluses
- Knee, hip, and back pain
- Soreness in the ball of the foot
- Increasing pain with use of the foot
- Pain that does not subside with rest
- Regularly recurring pain when completing the same motions (walking, standing, playing sports)
Complications from Shin Splints, Turf Toe, and Foot Imbalances
Conditions such as those discussed above can contribute to larger injuries and long term pain. It’s not uncommon for individuals suffering from shin splints, turf toe, or foot imbalances to experience pain in other areas of the lower body, such as knee pain or back pain. The feet are the foundation for the rest of the body and when there is pain or injury in the feet, the entire lower body can suffer. Below are some of the complications that can arise when these conditions are present:
Knee, Hip, and Back Pain
Foot pain can affect more than just the feet and ankles. All of the lower body joints and muscles are at risk for injury or strain when the feet are not in proper alignment, entirely supported, or where a condition like shin splints or turf toe is present. When the feet are not functioning properly it affects the alignment of the entire body. It’s not uncommon for conditions in the feet to cause pain for everyone, from high-performance athletes to the average person. Any of the lower body joints may experience pain, which may be present during motion as well as during rest, and the pain will often increase as the day goes on. Aching feet, bunions, difficulty standing or walking, and pain that radiates up the body from the feet are all common side effects of foot imbalances and foot injuries. When a person has a foot injury, they often overcompensate with other areas of their body so that they may continue their activities without disruption. In doing so, it's common to experience pain in other parts of the body that are overworked as a result of a foot condition.
Issues with the feet are often the root cause of many ongoing conditions. Sciatica is characterized by pain that extends from the lumbar spine down one side of the body, through the buttock, hip, and outer leg. The pain from sciatica is often described as sharp or burning.
Untreated foot imbalances or overcompensating for a foot injury can cause sciatic pain due to the feet’s condition, causing the misalignment of the hips and lower back. Poor posture and unsupported arches only add to sciatic pain.
Spinal stenosis is a condition affecting the lower back, occurring when nerves in the base of the spine become compressed. The effects of spinal stenosis can trickle down to the feet, presenting as foot numbness or weakness. Symptoms of spinal stenosis may intensify with walking or standing. When feet are not properly balanced, or there are other pre-existing foot conditions present, the symptoms of spinal stenosis may be more pronounced and make treatments less effective.
Correcting Foot Issues with Custom Orthotics
Shin splints, turf toe, and foot imbalances are all treatable conditions that are also preventable. Footstar’s custom orthotic insoles provide feet with the support and stability they need to function properly and prevent pain and injury. The following is an overview of how each of these conditions can be avoided using Footstar Orthotics:
Specially designed for athletes, Footstar's shock absorbing insoles provide more support, stability, and cushioning, ultimately reducing injuries caused by high impact activities like running or dancing. Footstar orthotics assist in aligning the feet and reducing the stress placed on the lower legs during physical activity. Our sneaker orthotics are customized for runners based on their distance, as well as our dance orthotics designed with a variety of dance shoes in mind. Our orthotics provide the comfort customers crave with the injury prevention measures that will keep them free from pain.
The use of orthotic insoles, particularly those designed for sports, can significantly reduce turf toe. Cushioning on the ball of the foot aids in absorbing shock and providing stability for the foot, and immobilizes the big toe to prevent excessive movement and bending. Footstar’s cleat orthotics allow customers to play their favorite sport!
Footstar's high-quality custom orthotics reposition the feet to correct variations in arches and provide the support necessary to prevent overpronation or supination. Wearing orthotics on a regular basis corrects poor postures that may have developed over time. Footstar's orthotics improve gait and overall posture, reducing knee pain, hip pain, and back pain that can result from lack of arch support, whether an individual has high arches or flat feet. Footstar's custom orthotics absorb shock that causes injury and stabilizes the gait without restricting the natural movements of the foot. People will experience a higher level of comfort when walking or standing, and athletes will benefit as orthotics reduce muscle fatigue and improve stride, joint rotation, and overall athletic performance.
The Footstar Family
Footstar is a fourth generation business, proudly serving people across the country and giving them access to an improved quality of life through our custom orthotics. Our goal is to provide individuals with the foot support they need to live their lives free of pain. Whether they are professional athletes or someone with a limited range of motion, Footstar's orthotics are available for anyone with a desire to improve their overall health and wellbeing, starting with their feet.
We pride ourselves on the first class quality of our products. We stand by each and every pair of custom orthotics that we make, and our outstanding customer service team ensures that our customers’ needs are addressed, allowing them to begin enjoying our custom insoles as quickly and as easily as possible.
How the Footstar Process Works
Footstar’s patented mail-in kit allows customers to take an accurate impression of their foot from the comfort and privacy of their homes. Creating an impression only takes a moment, and we provide all of the packaging materials and instructions needed to return the impression to us by mail. This unique system allows us to serve customers from coast to coast, in even the most remote areas where people do not have access to foot clinics. Once we receive a customer's impression, we can create and deliver custom orthotic inserts within two weeks.
Footstar orthotics are constructed using only the highest quality materials, including durable EVA memory foam and carbon fiber. We offer a wide variety of orthotic products in varying degrees of strength – from work boot orthotics to high heel orthotics, and everything in between.
Our patented foot impression system takes the measurements of the foot quickly and easily. Once we receive an impression back in the mail, we scan it with our advanced laser technology. Our cutting edge software allows us to use the most accurate measurements possible when creating custom orthotics for our clients, enabling us to pinpoint the exact areas that require more support and pressure relief. Our digital contour is used to create orthotics for clients across the country, in about ten days to 2 weeks, giving people the comfort and relief from pain that they’ve been seeking, in the most efficient way possible.
Get Started Today
Don't live with the pain of shin splints, turf toe, or conditions caused by foot imbalances. Give us a call to start creating your pair of custom foot orthotics. The sooner you reach out to our expert team, the sooner you'll be enjoying your new orthotics and finding relief from painful conditions caused by unsupported feet. Don't let foot or lower body pain stand in the way of a life free from aching feet, tender joints, and difficulty moving. When you start an order with Footstar, you are taking the first step to a happier and healthier future.