Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints Foot Pain Results From Poorly Fitting Shoes

By Hilda Scott , Mar 17, 2013 12:27 PM EDT

Finding the perfect pair of exercise shoes is more than just finding something stylish. Serious foot problems can occur if a shoe doesn't fit properly. Finding the right look and color is less important than finding the right fit.

Improperly fitting shoes can lead to severe foot pain and conditions such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints and Achilles tendonitis. Wearing improper footwear and performing activities such walking, running or hopping can damage your feet.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common form of heel pain. It's the inflammation and damage of the connective tissue located on the sole of the foot called the plantar fascia. Tension is placed on the plantar fascia during walking or running and excessive pressure can cause damage. The repetitive and prolonged strain on the plantar fascia is often seen in runners, dancers and gymnasts. Signs of plantar fasciitis are pain under the heel and the inner sole of the foot. The pain of plantar fasciitis increases with rest so people usually feel the most pain first thing in the morning.

Damage and inflammation to the tissue that connected muscles to the inner shin bone or tibia is known as Shin Splints. Prolonged and repetitive running, walking or jumping causes shin splints and is seen mostly in runners and football players. Symptoms include pain along the inner border of the shin bone of aches and stiffness. In severe cases, muscle tightness, swelling, redness and lumps may occur in the area of pain.

Achilles Tendonitis is damage and pain in the Achilles tendon. The calf is made up of two major muscles, one above the knee joint and one below the knee joint. Both muscles insert to the heel bone through the Achilles tendon. When the calf contracts, tension is placed on the Achilles tendon and excessive force can cause damage. Too much repetition and stress on the tendon can cause degeneration and inflammation. The Achilles tendon may tear due to sudden acceleration or force and commonly seen in running sports such as marathon, triathlon and football.

To get the best fit when selecting a shoe, wiggle room, arch support and shock absorption should be considered. When trying on a shoe, you should have between 3/8 to 1/2 inch of space between the shoe end and your longest toe.

Depending if your arch is high, medium or low, there are different arch supports available. To check the height of your arch, wet your feet and walk across a surface that will show your footprint. If your footprint appears skinny in the middle, your arch is high and if it's wide, your arch is low. A well cushioned sole is important and it's important to replace the shoe every 300 to 400 miles which is when the cushioning usually wears out. The shoes should be replaced every eight months if you actively run three miles a day, three days a week.

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