Healthy Steps as a CrossFitter

Being a Crossfit member for a few years, I’ve seen some limps, scaled workouts due to discomfort and a few painful facial expressions. We all push our bodies to the limit for the benefit of our health, so here are a couple of issues I’ve seen arise at the Crossfit Box and what can be done to keep your legs and feet healthy.

Plantar Fasciitis (PF)

Do you use colourful language with your first few steps out of bed in the morning or standing after you’ve been working at your desk? Typical symptoms of PF are pain along the sole of the foot, particularly in the heel and sometimes radiating through the arch and into the forefoot. This pain increases after a period of rest and may feel a little better during a WOD (depending on the severity).

The plantar fascia is a connective tissue that originates at the calcaneus (heel bone) and runs through the arch and into the forefoot. Unlike muscles, the fascia does not stretch and contract. Prolonged strain can damage the fascia and this is where the fun begins.

Biomechanics generally play a large role in strain on the fascia. An orthotic, acting as a brace for the foot can correct the biomechanics of the lower extremity, therefore reducing the strain on the fascia and allow it time to mend. Proper footwear also plays an important role; depending on the foot type, flat or low profile footwear should be avoided to alleviate any extra strain on the fascia.

Plantar fasciitis is usually best treated when the orthotic is accompanied by some TLC. Stretching the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles), rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle, and massage can make a significant difference to lower pain levels.



Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)

Generally we see this in the newbies or the Crossfitter who has recently stepped up their game by increasing workout duration, intensity or frequency. Shin splints typically refers to pain along the shin bone, specifically the inside edge of the shin bone. This condition occurs with running (particularly hill running), high impact / vigorous training program or sports activity. The pain occurs due to inflammation along the muscles, tendons and bone tissue in this area. Generally, the rule of thumb is rest (I felt you roll your eyes), ice and stretching.

Biomechanically, shin splints are associated with flat feet or high rigid arches. Choosing the proper footwear (ie. neutral shoes for rigid / high arches) is important. If you are unsure about footwear, book an appointment with Pure Motion Pedorthics to evaluate your current footwear and to gain knowledge for future options. Forefoot structural abnormalities can also lead to this type of discomfort; orthotics will aid to correct the biomechanics of the feet and legs and help to reduce the strain along the tibia.

Keep in mind, with these issues there are other conditions that may mimic these symptoms. If you are unsure, ask. Ask a pedorthist, health care practitioner, or your family doctor.

I truly love what I do. If you have questions about lower leg, knee or foot pain, or would just like some footwear advice, call or text me at 613-743-5284.



Kati Whalen, Canadian Certified Pedorthist and Owner of Pure Motion Pedorthics
259 Albert St.
Belleville, ON
K8N 3N8

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