Plantar fasciitis is heel pain caused by over-stretching of the band of tissue that supports your arch. The most common causes of plantar fasciitis are equinus (tight calf muscles) and pronation (flat feet). One way to help prevent the pain is to stretch calf muscles before and after exercise.  Another mode of prevention is to wear good supportive running shoes with motion control. Shoes with motion control will feature an EVA dual density midsole with medial reinforcement for pronation control. If you wear orthotics for plantar fasciitis, replace your running shoes' insert with your orthotic.

Shin splints are caused by inflammation of the soft tissues of leg leading to pain on either side of the tibia, the main shin bone. This inflammation is most often caused by foot pronation or by a muscle imbalance. 

If you have shin splints, stop running and rest, apply ice, take an anti-inflammatory and see a health professional. To prevent shin splints, stretch your front and back leg muscles regularly, wear good supportive shoes and ask a medical professional if you need orthotics.

Excessive friction of the foot against the inside of the shoe can lead to calluses and blisters. To prevent these problems, make sure your shoes are the right size. Have your feet measured by someone knowledgeable every time you buy running shoes. 

Wear socks that are made of CoolMax, polyester or polypropylene. Cotton socks made of 100 percent cotton become stretched out, bunchy and soggy with exercise which can lead to skin irritation. If you know certain areas on your feet are prone to blisters, apply petroleum jelly or moleskin to those spots before running.

Jennifer L. Flo, DPM, is a doctor of podiatric medicine with Duluth Clinic-Ashland.

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