Leg and Foot Injury Prevention

Achilles Tendinitis


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Located in the back of the lower leg close to the heel. Pain is usually worse upon rising out of bed and then feels better as the day progresses. Pain is usually felt at the beginning of exercise. The likely cause is overuse of the lower leg muscles, direct trauma, poor flexibility or pronation (inner or outer turning of the feet). Injury can be prevented through proper tendon flexibility, warming up prior to sport, stop activity at first sign of pain or stiffness, wearing shoes with proper arch support. Self-treatment should take the form of rest, ice, massage, mild stretching of the tendon when pain has decreased, acupuncture.
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Plantar Fasciitis


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Located at the bottom of the feet, characterized with pain from a mild ache to sharp pain, usually worse in the morning upon rising and at the beginning of exercise. The likely cause is sports requiring continued running, improper shoes, sudden turns and pronation. Injury can be prevented by wearing proper shoes, orthotics, rest and heel pads. Self-treatment should take the form of rest, orthotics, massage.
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Shin Splints


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Located in the front of the leg on the outer surface of the shin bone, where muscle attaches to bone, or in the back and inside portion of the lower leg toward the inner ankle. The likely causes are exercising on hard surfaces, muscular imbalance, pronation, and overuse. Injury can be prevented by proper warm-up and conditioning prior to exercise. Self-treatment should take the form of rest, ice, massage and gentle stretching.
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Sprained Ankle


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Located at the outer surface of the ankle. The likely causes are running/jumping on uneven surfaces, weakness/imbalance of the muscles around the ankle. Injury can be prevented by keeping the ankle flexible and strong. Self-treatment should take the form of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Ice the area as quickly as possible for 20 to 30 minutes, repeat the icing several times. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
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Stress Fracture

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Located in the bones of the lower leg and small bones of the feet. Usually there is sharp intense pain that increases with direct pressure. The likely causes are repeated running/jumping on hard surfaces. Injury can be prevented by being in good physical condition prior to participation in activity, jumping/running on softer surfaces or surfaces designed for jumping and running. Self-treatment should take the form of stop running and jumping until pain subsides and wearing shoes with good cushioning.

For all of these conditions a doctor trained in sports medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy or chiropractics is highly recommended.