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5 Types of Pain You Experience When You Walk and How to Alleviate Them

September 18, 2015 3 min read

Walking is the safest and easiest of the exercise options out there, but if you're feeling regular discomfort that just won't seem to go away, it's extremely important to address it. Each year, an estimated 250,000 walkers are "hobbled" due to a pain caused from walking. Ignoring the aggravation just makes things worse. walking Not sure what type of pain you're experiencing? Here are five types you could be suffering from, and what you can do about them. 1. THE PAIN: Tenderness on your heel or on the bottom of your foot Could be: Plantar Fasciitis This is the band of tissue running from your heel bone to the ball of your foot. When strained, small tears can develop. The tissue responds by stiffening as a form of protection. "Walkers can overwork the area when pounding the pavement, especially when they wear hard shoes on concrete, because there's very little give as the foot lands," explains Teresa Schuemann, a physical therapist in White Salmon, WA, and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. What you can do about it: At first, try simply to stretch the tissue by sitting with your ankle across your opposite thigh, pulling your toes toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. For the pain, try reducing it by wearing more supportive shoes, especially walking shoes that do not offer too much flexibility in the middle. "They should be bendable at the ball but provide stiffness and support at the arch," says Melinda Reiner, DPM, vice president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists. 2. THE PAIN: Soreness or swelling on the sides of your toes Could be: Ingrown Toenails If the corners or sides of your toenails are growing sideways, it could cause your feet to feel very tender, since your nails will put pressure on the surround soft tissue. Wearing too short or too tight of shoes? This could be causing ingrown toenails. Untreated for too long, you could risk a toenail falling off. What you can do about it:Make sure you have enough room in your shoe for your toes to wiggle. You may even need to go up a size in your sneakers, simply because feet are known to swell during exercise. "People who overpronate when they walk can exacerbate existing problems in the big toes," says Ward. 3. THE PAIN: Stiffness or soreness in your shins Could be: Shin Splints shin splints "Walkers who walk too much too soon, or too fast too soon, or who go up a lot of hills are susceptible to this injury because the foot has to flex more with each step, which overworks the shin muscles," explains Frank Kelly, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Macon, GA, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Walking on concrete for too many hours at a time can also lead to inflammation. What you can do about it: Try to lessen your walking for 3 to 8 weeks, just to ensure the tissue has enough time to heal. "If it hurts to walk, avoid it," suggests Joel Press, MD, medical director of the Spine & Sports Rehabilitation Center of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. This doesn't mean you have to stop exercising altogether, however. Switch up your routine by incorporating cross-training with low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling. 4. THE PAIN: Soreness on the outsides of hips Could be: Bursitis Repetitive stress can make way for the fluid-filled sacs that cushion your hip joints to suffer from inflammation and cause pain. People with one leg longer than the other can experience this, as can people who do not slowly work their way up to a certain distance while walking. The body needs time to adjust, and when it's not given that, it responds negatively. What you can do about it: Replace walking with riding a stationary bike, swimming, or another exercise that is non-weight-bearing. "When you begin walking again, don't just step back in where you left off. Start gradually: Walk every other day at first. Spend the first 5 minutes warming up by walking slowly, and do the last 5 minutes at a slower, cool-down pace," says Kelly. 5. THE PAIN: Throbbing in the front of your kneecap Could be: Runner's Knee runner's knee Pounding pavement can make way for a painful kneecap, which can begin to rub against your femur, leading to cartilage damage and tendinitis. The pain typically occurs when walking downhill. What you can do about it: For 8 to 12 weeks, or until the pain subsides, switch up your workout routine and stay away from walking or running in the meantime. Try strengthening your quads to help align the kneecap. Have you experienced any of these types of pains? Source: Prevention Do you follow us on Instagram? [caption id="attachment_109659" align="alignnone" width="100"]snapchat code @BodyRockTV[/caption]

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