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Maybe You Just Walk Funny

May 16, 2011

I’ve been walking about a mile and a quarter each morning and each evening as I travel from my house to a free parking lot for work that runs a shuttle to the main campus. It’s a longer walk but a faster trip than catching the city bus to work because it goes directly to work without stops or transfers. Before the current carless situation started, I was walking for 20-30 minutes on my lunch break each day.

With every walk, I was developing really bad pain in my legs, in an area I can only describe as the outside sides of my lower leg. Not my shins, not my calves, not my ankles – but if you are in a chair, and you bend over, putting your hand where your fingertips touch the bumpy bone of your ankle, the pain is about where my fingers stop and my palm begins, and forward.

You can tell I’m not up on my anatomy.

Anyway, Joel noticed that I was turning my feet out a little as I walked. Following that, I found that I don’t hurt so much – like “maybe I just need to quit walking and live right here” much – if I make a concerted effort to point my feet forward. Another librarian on FriendFeed seems to experience the same problem.

So I’m retraining myself to walk in a way that doesn’t hurt. It seems to only be an issue when I’m pushing myself to walk fast – not during casual walks, and I don’t jog/run with my feet turned the same way.

If you experience the same thing, maybe you just walk funny! Like me!

And, yeah, it should probably be “funnily” as an adverb, but I just don’t like that as much. :)

So, any med/nursing students want to tell me what the muscle on the outside sides of my lower legs is that I’m straining? Any favorite anatomy reference works you use? I could just look it up, but I find many of the anatomy websites I have access to to be hard to use and just plain annoying.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2011 8:58 am

    We had our conversation on FF the same day that I found out about the Human Body Maps at Healthline (http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/). According to that, the muscle that hurts (at least on me) is the Fibularis Longus (http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/fibularis-longus). Does that look right to you?

  2. May 16, 2011 9:13 am

    Could be! Seems to be the right area. And thanks for sharing the Human Body Maps resource, I wasn’t familiar with it and will have to try it out some more.

  3. May 16, 2011 1:22 pm

    The turned-out feet and pain in the muscle are also often associated with standing on the outside of the foot. Do the soles of your shoes wear down unevenly, more on the outside edge? If so, that’s what’s going on. You might want to check with a podiatrist to see if you ought to wear insets while doing lots of walking.

    Signed, One Who Knows (but does not need orthotics, fortunately)

  4. May 16, 2011 7:26 pm

    I dated a podiatrist years ago. I overpronate, meaning my feet roll in as I walk. I needed some orthotics to walk/run comfortably. I would second the suggestion to see a podiatrist about an orthotic.

    http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/diet-and-exercise/exercise-equipment/running-shoes-buying-guide/page/one-shape-doesnt-fit-all.aspx

  5. IndianaFran permalink
    May 17, 2011 10:45 am

    This actually sounds more like intermittent claudication rather than a muscle strain. More common in older folks. Sometimes in younger females it could be related to a change in prescription contraception?

    • May 17, 2011 4:17 pm

      You know, I looked that up and fretted over it, actually. I’m somewhat comforted that the pain goes away immediately upon changing the angle of my feet. I might mention it next time I see a provider just in case, and am keeping an eye out for any of the signs and “call your doctor” issues. Thanks.

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