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6 Walking Pains You Should Never Ignore


Pain can be a confusing part of the fitness equation. Sometimes aches associated with exercise are normal such as delayed onset muscle soreness. Then there are ‘twinges’ that make you question whether or not something’s up. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and you could have previous damage or a developing injury. It can be difficult to distinguish when you should push through and when to dial it back. Here are six examples of pain you should never ignore during a walk — plus, what to do!


Possible diagnosis: Tendonitis
It could be tendonitis or damage to the tendon that connects into your knee cap or a hurt meniscus, aka the connective tissue between your upper and lower leg bones.

What to Do

Often, both tendonitis and meniscus issues can stem from other areas of fatigue or tightness. When your ankles or hips are tight, your knees have to make up for them — and, in the process, are often over-stressed, resulting in knee pain. A recovery plan from your Osteopath could involve catered daily activation exercises and a stretching routine like a pre-walk, foam rolling and dynamic stretches.


Possible diagnosis: Shin Splints
It could be shin splints, which result from tiny stress fractures forming along your shin bones.

What to Do
Rest — especially if you’ve been overdoing it. Usually, shin splints show up when you push yourself too hard, too fast. If it persists, an Osteopath can help analyse your walking patterns and form a strengthening plan, so you can stop your shin pain from coming back. Check your sneakers, too. Ill-fitting walking shoes could improperly load the body worsening knee pain.


Possible diagnosis: DVT
If your calf feels like it’s cramping or looks red, swollen and even tender and warm to the touch it could be deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of your legs, and in rare but life-threatening situations, can dislodge and travel to your lungs.

What to Do
Head to the GP or Osteopath to assess whether it is musculoskeletal in nature or vascular.


Possible diagnosis: Plantar Fasciitis
If you have a pain in your heel that spreads along the bottom of your foot and gets worse when you take your first steps in the morning, head up the stairs or start walking after sitting for long periods of time it’s likely plantar fasciitis.

What to Do
If you’ve upped your step count recently, consider reducing the intensity. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, so it usually begins with excessive walking or weight-bearing activities without proper stability and support from muscles in your feet. Pushing through it could worsen the pain or even change your gait and biomechanics and result in expanding injuries. If you’re still feeling it after you’ve backed off for a bit, a podiatrist or Osteopath can help with a stretching routine and determine whether you need custom inserts.


Possible diagnosis: Joint or muscle injury
It could be a muscle tear or a lumbar joint strain, which can occur if you have pelvic girdle weakness when walking or don’t have proper form.

What to Do
Ignoring low back pain can actually make your back tighten up even more, resulting in a vicious cycle of muscle loss and increased weakness. An Osteopath can assess the cause of this, evaluating possible compensation patterns that could be apparent.

PINS AND NEEDLES or sharp, electrical pain in the BACK OF the LEG and FOOT

Possible diagnosis: Sciatica
Sharp, knife-like or electrical pain along with tingling, numbness and muscle spasms running down the back of your leg to your foot could be an irritation of your sciatic nerve. It might feel like a weird muscle cramp or pins and needles.

What to Do
Since walking can both worsen and improve sciatica-like symptoms, you could be hindering your injury further. Your Osteopath will be able to assist you in managing your pain and physical limitations with plenty of take-home advice and hands-on treatment.


Caley 2019

This post was written by Dr Caley Olesen.

You can find out more about her here or book an appointment online here.

Alternatively, you can call us at the Clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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