We all tend to get a unique pain every now and again that makes us wonder. We are not sure if it is soreness or if it could be something more, like an injury. Last week, I posted 4 common injuries. This week, I have included 4 more common injuries and conditions along with their signs and symptoms, and treatment recommendations. If you feel that your injury is severe, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
Plantar fasciitis-Plantar fasciitis is irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia is a very thick band of tissue that holds up the bones on the bottom of the foot. When the fascia becomes inflamed it causes pain, making walking more difficult. Most people complain of increased heel pain after walking or working for a long period of time. Rest is the best treatment and is almost always successful, given enough time. Treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory medications, heel stretching exercises, night splints, and shoe inserts. Maintaining good flexibility around the ankle, particularly the Achilles tendon and calf muscles, is probably the best way to prevent plantar fasciitis.
Arthritis – About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage is what protects the joint, allows for movement, absorbs shock, and removes pressure from the bones. When the amount of cartilage starts to deteriorate the bones start rubbing together. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Risk factors for arthritis include but are not limited to being overweight, previously injuring the affected joint, and overusing the affected joint in a repetitive action. Your doctor will perform tests to see if Arthritis is the cause of your joint pain.
Shin Splints (Periostitis) – The most common cause of shin splints is inflammation of the periosteum of the tibia. The periosteum is the fibrous sheath that covers bone. It contains blood vessels and nerves that provide nourishment and sensation to the bone (1). Shin splints are commonly found in runners and jumpers. These two activities are high impact, putting a lot of stress on the lower leg muscles and bones. Common signs of shin splints include pain at the beginning and end of exercise, swelling of the shin, and red bumps found on the shin. Treatment includes icing of the shins, stretching, and rest. My favorite way to treat shin splints is to freeze a Dixie cup (bathroom-sized) full of water. When the cup is frozen, start rubbing the ice on the shins. The ice will start melting away and you can tear away the cup.
Lower Back Injuries- If you have lower back pain, you are not alone, lower back injuries are very common. Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work, routine daily activities, and exercise. There are two types of lower back pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain only last for a few days and may not require medical attention. Chronic pain is described as lasting for 3 months or more. As people age, bone strength, and muscle elasticity and tone tend to decrease. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. This is why as we age it is important to work on strengthening the body as a whole. There is no specific way to prevent back injuries, but being careful when you lift heavy objects is important. Functional strength training to strengthen the lower back along with other core muscles is the best prevention.
I hope this blog was able to help with some of your questions about where or what is causing your pain.