Running is one of the most common sports activities, but you may experience cramps and calf pain. What may cause it? In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Dr. Stefano Respizzi, Director of Orthopedic Rehabilitation at Humanitas, answered this question.

“The first thing to do is to look at the shape of your legs to make sure there is no launch knee or valgus, because in these cases you may create overloads during the run.

Once these eventualities are excluded, the feet must be carefully analyzed, because it is one thing to use them for walking, and another for running. First of all, their shape should be checked: is there a hollow foot? Or a flat foot? Is there a valgus toe? In other words, we must analyze their support.


The help of the podoscope

“To this end, very precise studies can now be carried out with the help of the podoscope, an instrument consisting of a transparent platform on which the patient climbs onto, and which allows extremely precise analysis of the footprint of the reflected foot.

With this information, a good orthopedic technician can eventually create a special foot bed that corrects the support, reducing the wrong loads.


The role of shoes

“Cases of this kind are much more common than you might think, because, in theory, we should go around barefoot, which of course is neither possible nor advisable in general, but shoes in addition to protecting our lower extremities sometimes force them into unnatural postures, as in the case of shoes with very high heels. In fact, it is no coincidence that the valgus toe is found rather frequently in runners. Their foot often does not support the change between the heeled posture and the different one with a running shoe”.


General clinical conditions

“Once the condition of knees and feet has been observed, and if no anomaly has been found, in a case like this, it is advisable to evaluate the strength that the leg muscles are able to express, checking that there is symmetry between the right and left.

A further important step is a general clinical analysis. Even if you don’t have resistance problems, it is always better to control blood pressure, blood sugar and other metabolic parameters that can affect your work and muscle efficiency. At this point, you are usually able to identify the problem and solve it, often with relatively simple solutions such as insoles.


Increasingly sophisticated examinations

“If you want, you can also use more sophisticated analysis (used for professional athletes, but which can also be useful for amateur sportsmen), using systems that allow you to analyze everything in a dynamic way and not just statically.

The patient is lifted onto a particular platform and all his gestures are recorded with cameras, strategically placed to analyze the movement in space.

The person also has a large screen in front of him/her that allows him/her to follow his/her actions. With the help of specialists, he can also visually see any errors he makes or his postural faults. This is not only useful for the diagnosis of the problem, but also for the treatment, because by observing the movement it is possible to involve the brain in the correction process: the unconscious movement becomes conscious and thus you can adopt strategies that are introduced to improve and become automatic,” concluded Dr. Respizzi.