Recently our office examined a local high school female cross country runner. She was in her first race and suffering from posterior tibial dysfunction. This condition is one of the most common problems of the foot and ankle.

It is also known as a Posterior shin splint. The muscle on the inside of the leg, via its tendon, inserts into the middle of the foot. One of the major problems of the posterior shin splint is caused by overuse and pronation of the foot, rolling and flattening of the inner part of the foot. This can be caused with any athletic sport, where the athlete has a flat foot or a weak flexible foot type.

In some cases you don't even have to be involved in athletics for this condition to occur. One must be very careful as this constant pulling of the muscle and tendon can overstretch and even rupture. So with this in mind, seek professional advice.

Fortunately, in the case of this particular runner who wore an orthotic foot support, it was modified for her injury with the hope that she had enough support to return to her cross country event.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.