Walking is looked up as an effective and moderate-intensity exercise. In fact, it is considered suitable for people of every age group and even for those who are taking up physical activity for the first time. It is one activity, which involves the entire body and you can do it anytime during the day. You can start and end your day with a brisk walk and benefit holistically. There are several studies which indicate the potential benefits of walking and reducing the risk of several illnesses including different forms of cancers and heart diseases. But when walking is supposed to be good for you, then why do you suffer from leg pain post a walk? Confusing?
Well, some aches are normal when you exercise like muscle soreness. However, don’t consider every pain as a normal one. Pain can be your body’s way of telling you that something is not fine. So, which are these different types of leg pains that require your attention? It is important to know about them so that you should act timely on observing them.
Shin Pain: It refers to Shin Splints that take place due to tiny stress fractures that can form along the shin bones. This pain usually surfaces when you are exerting your body. Say, you usually take 5 rounds in 30 minutes and start taking 5 rounds in 15 minutes, so you are overdoing and bringing your body in stress. When you push your body too much or too fast, then you can suffer from this kind of walk related pain. If it reduces, then you can ignore it. But if it persists, then you should consult a physical therapist who can assess your walking pattern and design a strengthening plan. This kind of assessment will also reduce the risk of this Shin Pain from coming back.
Heel Pain: It is also known as Plantar Fasciitis and is a dull form of a pain that usually starts from the heel and spreads along the front bottom of the foot. This pain can gradually aggravate as you take the first step in the morning or walk after sitting for a longer period. Besides, it can also trigger or increase when you climb up the stairs. It is mainly an issue with the connective tissue that extends from the heel to toes. This pain usually develops when you are walking excessively or doing some weight-bearing activities without proper support. So, don’t push yourself too much. This is especially important when you are already in pain. If the heel pain persists, then you should consult a specialist who can suggest you some stretching routine that will prove useful in such a situation.
Sciatica: Do you experience a needle-like pain from the back of your legs to the foot? Well, this could be sciatica or the irritation of the sciatica nerve. It often causes numbness or tingling kind of a sensation. You may confuse it with a muscle cramp, and it can get worse as you start walking. Sometimes walking can lead to a misalignment in your lower back and tighten the piriformis muscle that compresses the sciatic nerve and leads to shock waves from leg to foot. You should ideally give rest and try hot or cold compression. There are also over the counter medicines available. However, you should take them after consulting a specialist.
Lower Back Pain: Walking is a great exercise. However, it is important that you follow the right posture. If there is an issue with your walking posture, then it can lead to a lower back muscle tear. It is also called a lumbar strain. Moreover, this problem should never be taken lightly or ignored as it can tighten-up the back further in the course of time and lead to more muscle loss and weakness. So, as soon as you feel there is a pain in your lower back you should immediately consult a specialist or a physical therapist.
Cramping: If your calf looks swollen or red or you sense leg cramps, this could be due to a blood clot in the deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In this situation, you should immediately see the doctor as they will mostly prescribe certain leg exercises that will increase the flow of blood. Even some blood thinning medications can be prescribed.
So, not every pain should be treated as a normal one and ignored. You should ideally not wait for more than 24 hours for it to subside. But pain doesn’t mean you should quit walking. It is one of the best and safest exercise even for those who are just beginning to take up a form of physical activity. Just ensure that you maintain the posture, wear the right workout clothes and the correct pair of shoes.