A blog by runners. For runners.

Dealing with walking pain

dealing with walking pain

A lot of emphasis is placed on preventing and healing running injuries. However, walkers also experience a variety of aches and pains both big and small through the sport.

Walking – like running – entails impact and repetitive motion, so it’s important walkers pay attention to tweaks and twinges as they happen.

Here are some common complaints and what to do about them.

1. Blisters

  • Problem: There are few things worse than feeling hot spots while walking only to return home to bloody socks and raw blisters. Friction with walking can be just as severe as with running, and since walking a mile involves more steps – there’s more opportunity to rub yourself the wrong way if your footwear is ill-fitting.
  • Solution: It’s important you find a pair of walking shoes that fit the right way. Be sure to check our our list of 5 important considerations before buying your next pair. Beyond that, socks make a big different, so try choosing materials that prevent sweat from building up. To protect the damage that’s already done, try using some blister band-aids, as well as following these suggestions.

2. Shin Splints

  • Problem: That nagging pain known as shin splints is caused by inflammation, and it’s a problem many walkers, joggers, and runners face. Usually the culprit is doing too much too soon and not resting. Other times, the surface underfoot might be to blame. Whatever the cause, it hurts and can be very discouraging.
  • Solution: If you’re a beginning walker, take a look at the miles or hours you’ve spent on your feet this week. If it seems much higher than the previous weeks, take a few days off to heal. Also examine your route to see if cement sidewalks or other hard surfaces might be to blame. A nice cinder trail or even a grassy path can feel amazing and restore your legs.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

  • Problem: This injury can be tricky and happen when you least expect it. You can wake one morning and find yourself in agony upon stepping out of bed. The bottom of your foot – particularly the heel and arch – rages with pain. It may get better as the day rolls on only to return the next morning. People with higher arches tend to have more issues with plantar fasciitis, as well as those who pronate.
  • Solution: It’s always good to get this sort of pain checked out by a doctor. Get your foot examined to determine your arch and pronation status. From there, you’ll want to rest your feet (and choose exercise that doesn’t involve stressing the same area) and consider getting orthotics or doing strengthening exercises to correct the problem. The good news: “Out of 100 people with plantar fasciitis, about 95 are able to relieve their heel pain with nonsurgical treatments.”

4. Knee Pain

  • Problem: There are a variety of ways the body absorbs shock and internalizes repetitive motion. Often, the knees take the brunt and respond with pain signals. Since the aches can be difficult to distinguish, anything sensation that lasts longer than a week or two – especially after rest – should be checked out by a professional. There are a host of knee injuries, including runner’s knee (walkers can get it, too!), IT-band tightness (that presents in the knee), and so on.
  • Solution: Examine your entire exercise regimen. Often, weak leg muscles might be to blame for certain knee injuries that result from overuse. As with other issues, walking surface is another area for examination – with softer surfaces being more protective over harder ones. Doing lots of uphill or downhill stretches may also aggravate knee pain and should be avoided if they cause discomfort.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.

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