San Antonio Podiatrist Discusses Leg Pain in Runners

Runners and other athletes can be slowed down by leg pain or numbness that occurs with activity. Overuse or overtraining can cause symptoms in well conditioned and health athletes but adequate rest can often lead to resolution. There are athletes that, despite attempts at rest, experience recurrent leg pain or numbness with activity according to Dr. Davis.


Dr. Ed Davis sees recurrent leg pain in a number of runners presenting to his San Antonio podiatrist office that appear to cause patient frustration due to the perception that such issues are difficult to resolve. Davis states that recurrence or persistence of symptoms are generally due to biomechanical issues that have not been addressed. There is an emphasis on treatment of symptoms and acute conditions in medicine while more chronic issues may be undertreated.


Shin splints are a common cause of leg pain in runners and other athletes. The term “shin splint” may refer to a tendinitis of the leg but occasionally a stress fracture that occurs at the area where the tendon attaches. There are three general types of shin splints: anterior shin splints, posterior shin splints and lateral shin splints in the leg. The types refer to the specific groups of muscle involved. Muscles of the leg that control the foot are in three compartments of the leg.


The anterior compartment leg muscles act primarily to lift up the foot, that is, to allow the toes not to hit the ground. These muscles work harder when going up a hill. The contraction of the anterior muscles when ascending hill is a concentric contraction, a tightening and shortening of the muscle. The contraction of the anterior muscles going down a hill prevents the foot from slapping the ground and is an eccentric contraction, a tightening and lengthening of the muscle.


The deep posterior leg muscles act to keep the foot from rolling in to much (pronation) after the foot strikes the ground. The lateral leg muscles act to keep the foot from rolling out too much (supination).

For more information on shin splints, visit Dr. Davis’ website:


A more serious form of leg pain that may also lead to numbness in the legs or feet associated with running sports is known as exercise induced compartment syndrome in which the muscles of the leg swell with their compartments leading to potential nerve damage: See


Davis emphasizes that a thorough biomechanical exam is needed to determine the underlying causes of

leg pain.

For more information, visit or call Dr. Davis at 210-490-3668

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