Shin Splints...please help!

  • Hammer89

    Posts: 237

    May 24, 2012 6:29 PM GMT
    Hey RJ'ers! I need some help/advice. Over the past 6 months I've taken up running..a lot. As I continue to run, I'm able to run farther and farther every day but more recently I've been getting shin splints a lot. I've tried everything to prevent them. Here goes my list

    -Stretching before and after
    -stretching only after/only before
    -warming up
    -increasing my potassium intake
    -running faster/slower
    -changing my stride
    -running through the pain of shin splints (because another RJ'er told me to *cough* Misternick *cough*)

    I'm all out of ideas on what to do to prevent them. Hopefully someone out there can help me.

    Thanks!
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    May 24, 2012 7:41 PM GMT
    When is the last time you gave your body a break? From your post, it sounds like you've run every day for 6 straight months. Try giving your body a break to recover.

    Try different types of running shoes. As soon as I started running in Nike Free and with my Vibram Five Fingers, my shin splints are virtually non-existent. Trying to run in structured shoes decreases the flexibility in my foot/ankle and I think it tightens up my shins.

    Also another thing I did was reverse calf raises. Stand on a stair. Put your heals on the stair with your front half of your foot hanging off. Lower the front half of the foot, then raise to a "V" angle. This works the front of your lower leg.

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    May 24, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
    ECNAZ is right, a little bit of rest is definitely a good thing.
    As part of my warmup, I'll walk on my toes and heels pointed forward and to each side for 20 or so steps each way. It's kind of quirky and I don't know why it's worked, but since doing this I haven't had many problems with my shins at all.
  • Hammer89

    Posts: 237

    May 24, 2012 8:16 PM GMT
    Well, there has been some rest days. But beside the point, thanks! I've always like adidas running shoes but I've also thought about trying the Nike Free. Those will be my next pair for sure.
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    May 24, 2012 8:51 PM GMT
    As the others said, your body legs need some rest. You can still maintain your cardio fitness by biking, swimming, elliptical, etc. providing you eliminate the pounding you get while running.

    Other suggestions:
    - ice every day. I'm a cross country/track coach and tell the distance runners to ice twice a day. Just fill a ziploc bag with ice, sit in front of the tv for twenty minutes with the ice on your shins, and put the bag back in the freezer for the next time.
    - The heel/toe walks mentioned by Pheidippides are also good. My team has had far fewer problems with shin splints since we started doing them as part of our daily warmup routine
    - Run on softer surfaces. If you're running on pavement everyday, switch to grass or dirt trails a couple days per week. While boring, the track is another possibility.
    - The brand of shoe probably isn't a problem. The age of your shoes might be, though. Running shoes are designed to go 350-500 miles before they lose their cushioning. If you don't already keep a running log, do so, and include separate mileage for shoes vs. personal miles run. Go to a running store and have them find you the right shoe for your foot and stride pattern.
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    May 24, 2012 9:14 PM GMT
    Shin splints treatment exercises
    Earlier this year, you decided to increase the amount of training you do, and you boosted the time you spent daily on the football pitch, basketball court, volleyball surface, or running track. Things seemed to be great for a week or two; you could really feel yourself getting stronger and fitter. Then, a small problem showed up: you began to feel a dull ache on the inside, lower portion of your shin during the first few minutes of a workout. The discomfort went away once you had warmed up, so you weren't overly concerned.
    Unfortunately, the pain returned on the following day - and lasted for a longer period of time. As the days went by, pain was present for the whole training session, as well as your cool-down - and even hung around during your regular daily activities. When you used your fingers to probe the area near the back, inside edge of the lower part of your tibia (the main bone in the lower part of the leg), you felt tenderness but no major swelling, and the pain seemed to centre in the tissues (muscles and tendons) near the tibia, not the tibia itself. What had gone wrong?

    'Some experts contend that medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is almost inevitable, since each shin absorbs a force equal to two or three times bodyweight with every footfall'

    Of course, you had developed a classic case of 'shin splints,' an injury which is more accurately called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Many experts believe that shin splints are the most common injury among athletes who do a lot of running in their sporting activities ('Relieving Painful Shin Splints,' The Physician and Sportsmedicine, vol. 20(12), pp. 105-113, 1992). And it's an especially troubling injury, because it can stop quality training in its tracks and also tends to recur, defying conventional treatments. The actual site of injury in the shin area can be muscle, tendon, bone - or the connective-tissue wrappings which surround your muscles and bones.
    Some experts contend that medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is almost inevitable, since each shin absorbs a force equal to two to three times body weight with every footfall as you run across the soccer field, down the basketball court, or along a 10-kilometre cross-country course, if you're an endurance runner. This works out to be about 700 stresses per shin for each mile that you run (a soccer player usually covers six to seven miles per match). The cumulative effect of this repetitive stress on the muscles and connective tissues in the shin area is believed to be the origin of medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). For that reason, medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is often called an 'overuse' injury, although as you'll see in a minute, the real problem is not so much overuse as it is a lack of preparation for use. Specifically, medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) occurs because the ankle dorsiflexors - the shin muscles which in effect pull the top surface of the foot toward the shin and also (as part of their eccentric functioning) keep the foot from being pulled away from the shin too rapidly - are not functioning as well as they should.

    If people can hear you coming, watch out
    The key role of these ankle dorsiflexors during running is in fact to control and limit plantar flexion - the movement of the foot away from the shin. During the very earliest part of the footstrike portion of the gait cycle - right after the foot makes contact with the ground, there's a tendency for the foot to slap hard against terra firma. In a 'heel-striker,' for example (an athlete who first makes contact with the ground with his heel), forward momentum tries to slap the rest of the bottom of the foot against the ground very quickly and forcefully, an uncoordinated and energy-wasting action which is resisted by eccentric contractions of the dorsiflexors.
    If an athlete has weak ankle dorsiflexors, you can often 'hear him coming a mile away' if he is running on a hard surface, because his feet will actually make slapping sounds against the pavement (of course, such a runner will be at high risk for medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), because the rapid downward movement of the foot will tear at and overstress the dorsiflexors). In contrast, the athlete with strong, functional dorsiflexors will seem to pad softly along, even if he is running on rock-solid concrete.

    Imitate the action of the Kenyans
    In his fine book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the great sports journalist Hunter Thompson wrote that one could tell the difference between good and bad runners by the sounds their feet made on the ground. The people who ran very fast, Thompson observed, also ran very quietly, while individuals who ran slowly tended to stir up a huge auditory commotion. Basically, quieter running means more economical, coordinated, stable running, which explains the performance difference Thompson noted.
    If you doubt this, watch some of the elite Kenyan endurance runners, for example, and compare their foot-to-ground patterns with those of the average athlete. The Kenyans build up tremendous dorsiflexor strength and functionality because they spend their initial years of life running and walking endless miles while barefoot, instead of moving around with their feet clamped into a fluffy set of midsoles which shield the feet from hard work - or sitting around with feet propped up on a soft hassock. As a result, the Kenyans waste very little energy during the stance phase of the gait cycle - and seldom hobble off the track or roads with a shin injury.
    In addition to controlling plantar flexion, the muscles we call the dorsiflexors must also deal with side-to-side motions of the foot and ankle during running - as well as the rotational motions which are a natural part of the gait cycle. Any tendency of the foot to pronate (roll inward) must be controlled by the shin muscles. Any tendency of the foot to supinate (roll outward) must also be reined in by the dorsiflexors. If there is relentless, stressful motion in any direction, the shin muscles can be damaged. That's why many of the exercise routines which supposedly prevent shin splints don't work so well; they often emphasise only front-and-back motions, rather than the side-to-side and rotational activities which are routine aspects of the biomechanics of movement. The bottom line is that if you want to prevent shin splints, you can't merely develop general strength in your dorsiflexors - or strength which exhibits itself in only one plane of motion: Your dorsiflexors must actually be stronger while you are moving around. More on that in a moment!

    'The usual treatments may relieve symptoms but they don't prevent medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) from recurring'
    That's why the classical mode of treatment for shin splints - RECEIPT (rest, elevation, compression, easy stretching of the muscles, icing, and possibly taping) - works fairly well at relieving symptoms but does a very poor job of keeping the injury from recurring. Only by improving the functional strength of the dorsiflexors and the strength and coordination of the entire ankle area can one be confident that medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) will be held at bay. If your dorsiflexors are strong enough to handle your total training load, and they aren't yanked around too badly by poorly controlled ankle movements, your training year should be unmarked by the pain and disruption of shin splints.

    These are the exercises to follow
    So what should you actually do to lower your risk of medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)? Well, simply utilise our shin-splint-preventing exercises, outlined here:

    (1) Wall Shin Raises: Simply stand with your back to a wall, with your heels about the length of your feet away from the wall. Then, lean back until your buttocks and shoulders rest against the wall. Dorsiflex both ankles simultan-eously, while your heels remain in contact with the ground. Bring your toe
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    May 24, 2012 9:15 PM GMT
    im sure you can google the rest or pm if u need more but this article explains and remedies most cases
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    May 24, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
    To add:

    Another good exercise which I believed helped my shin splints was running backwards, barefoot (well, I did it with my Vibrams). This really helped focus attention on the balls/toes of the foot, and helped strengthen the Tibialis anterior.
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    May 25, 2012 12:24 AM GMT
    I struggled with shin splints every fall and spring during high school cross country and tracks seasons. It definitely is an injury that is painful and can inhibit good training.

    I few things I focused on these last couple of years was stride, foot strike, and shoes.

    As I researched stride I was beginning to realize that it was much too long for the longer distances I ran. My stride speed or turnover was also too slow because of this. So I shorted up my stride, which naturally sped up my turnover to more what it should be.

    Once I had this shortened stride practiced to where it was natural, I focused on my actual foot strike. I was constantly supernating, and landing far up on the toes. This was not good for long distance running. This really put a long of stress on my shin and calf muscles, constantly absorbing all the shock on each strike. This is what I believe led to my shin splints. So I concentrated on more of a mid-foot strike. This was easy to maintain because of my now shortened stride length and higher turn over.

    Now I'm shin splint free!!!!

    Looking back to my old form, it was more like a sprinter's. Landing on the toes and the longer strides. For short distances this is fine.....but for mile after mile it just tore up my shins and calfs as the muscle and connective tissue pulled away from the bone.....thus leading to my run stopping shin splints.

    Everyone is different though, and there are tons of YouTube videos and stuff on the net. Just research and try different things until you find what works!!

    And rest....not just a day or two, but possibly and week or two. You really need to give you muscle and connective tissue time to heal, because nothing will help if those haven't healed....nothing.

    (Oh, I also used to be an avid Adidas guy, but just got some Brooks and have found them to be the best running shoe for me. No blisters and the right amount of support. I figured if a lot of the big named Ironman Triathletes run in them, the must be pretty good shoes.)
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    May 25, 2012 1:28 AM GMT
    I had them, and seriously, when I was standing still, my heels would involuntarily lift up off the ground. It just sort of stopped for me, though, like I just ran it off. It was like my body was adjusting to the activity.
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    May 25, 2012 1:38 AM GMT
    A friend of mine had shin splints. His physical therapist had him do glute exercises and overdosed him on vitamin d. It worked for him.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    May 25, 2012 8:08 AM GMT
    Still works!!
    I never really believed in this reflexology BS, but I had bad shin splints about 8 yrs ago. They lasted for weeks. I read a book on resetting the knee. Google it. I will try to explain what it said. Place right hand over top of right knee. Your thumb index finger and you middle and ring finger form a tripod. Your index finger should touch the top of your knee cap. Squeeze for 20 seconds then release. Immediatly find the soft tissue in the front of your knee right below ur knee cap. Apply pressure for 7 seconds with middle and ring finger. Then release. Lastly raise your leg and drive your heel on the ground with a slam. I felt immediate relief. Repeat on left knee. Good luck.

    Keep hydrated and watch your potassium intake.

    Mike
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    May 25, 2012 8:10 AM GMT
    racerx76 saidHey RJ'ers! I need some help/advice. Over the past 6 months I've taken up running..a lot. As I continue to run, I'm able to run farther and farther every day but more recently I've been getting shin splints a lot. I've tried everything to prevent them. Here goes my list

    -Stretching before and after
    -stretching only after/only before
    -warming up
    -increasing my potassium intake
    -running faster/slower
    -changing my stride
    -running through the pain of shin splints (because another RJ'er told me to *cough* Misternick *cough*)

    I'm all out of ideas on what to do to prevent them. Hopefully someone out there can help me.

    Thanks!


    Run less?
    Physical activity puts stress on the body, try taking a week off and sit to relax your shins as much as possible. Afterwards feel free to run as much as you want.
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    May 25, 2012 8:24 AM GMT
    MikemikeMike saidStill works!!
    I never really believed in this reflexology BS, but I had bad shin splints about 8 yrs ago. They lasted for weeks. I read a book on resetting the knee. Google it. I will try to explain what it said. Place right hand over top of right knee. Your thumb index finger and you middle and ring finger form a tripod. Your index finger should touch the top of your knee cap. Squeeze for 20 seconds then release. Immediatly find the soft tissue in the front of your knee right below ur knee cap. Apply pressure for 7 seconds with middle and ring finger. Then release. Lastly raise your leg and drive your heel on the ground with a slam. I felt immediate relief. Repeat on left knee. Good luck.

    Keep hydrated and watch your potassium intake.

    Mike


    Is that for real? Almost sounds like a painful prank. Gotta google it.
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    May 25, 2012 8:49 AM GMT
    I was a hurdled in track when I was in high school. From all the hard pounding, I use to get some pretty nasty shin splints. My trainer would freeze water in a Dixie cup and a rub my shins with it. Seems like it really helped out a lot. Also def make sure your watching the mileage on your shoes.
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    May 25, 2012 8:54 AM GMT
    i agree with most things that have been said here.
    Especially warming up, changing your shoes every half year or so and running on softer surfaces can help.
    Also try doing more leg and especially calf (is that how you spell that) workouts in the gym


    If you train your legs right you shouldn't be to bothered with shin splints anymore.



  • Jun 04, 2012 8:51 AM GMT
    Sounds like you've done everything (like me). Had my gait analysed, blah blah. If you're doing the stretching on a step where you slowly go up on your toes then take your heel down past the step as far as you can and you are massaging the muscle horizontally off your shin before a workout, you have to find alternative exercise I'm afraid. I did everything to resist stopping the treadmill, but at the end of the day, if that's what causes it, stop using it (or do five minutes instead of five hours and cardio on the cross trainer). Does power walking on the steepest incline make the pain go away? It does with me.
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    Jun 04, 2012 9:39 AM GMT
    Stop running x2-4 weeks.
    Take NSAID and ice 2-3x daily.
    Stretch your calf muscles aggressively.
    Strengthen anterior tibialis.
    Get new running shoes with proper orthotics.
    Return to running after 2-4 week rest period slowly (level surfaces only)
    Cross train with other non impact cardio.
  • binks11

    Posts: 8

    Jun 07, 2012 3:08 AM GMT
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    this has worked well for my patients. as always focus on the slow return from the contracted state, don't let the exercise band pull your foot down uncontrolled. IMAGE HTTP ADDRESS GOES HEREIMAGE HTTP ADDRESS GOES HERE
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    Jun 07, 2012 4:11 AM GMT
    Excellent write up track_boi. I was wondering.... i bought the vibrams and really enjoy using them.... doing the recommended slow no more than 20 minute rule for the first while. There are a lot of muscles that i have never used, so there is a breaking in period. The thing is there is a lot of bad press about foot fractures while using them. Is it because we aren't use to running barefoot or that our bone density is very poor.... especially on those that don't do weight bearing exercise to increase their bone density.
  • mynyun

    Posts: 1346

    Jun 07, 2012 4:18 AM GMT

    I never had any problems with running until I joined the military. Then I had what a few referred to as shin splints. I'm still not sure and I haven't consulted a doctor about it (yet) but I do know that when I have to run for PT my shins ACHE.!!!

    I've tried all of these
    -Stretching before and after
    -stretching only after/only before
    -warming up
    -increasing my potassium intake
    -running faster/slower
    -changing my stride
    -running through the pain of shin splints

    Aside from seeing a doctor I have not went to any kind of shoe specialist to see if that helps. If I know I have to run I usually take pain relievers before hand and manage that way.

    I have had some runners tell me about running on asphalt, concrete, and other hard surfaces. Been told to limit that because the constant shock to the joints will eventually wear them out and you'll be sorry in the future.
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    Jun 07, 2012 7:45 PM GMT
    back in my x-country days I used to spell out the alphabet with each foot while sitting. I think this just increased the flexibility of each foot

    really the biggest difference for me came when I got new shoes every season. But it helped to get my stride analyzed at one of the stores and they made a video of my stride and helped me correct it as I used to roll my ankle to the side slightly.

    Otherwise everything everyone else said might work for you! hopefully they go away soon!
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Jun 07, 2012 8:05 PM GMT
    All the things you listed are good ideas, however I would suggest going to a shoe store with people who are trained to know which shoes will best fit you. I went last year after having shin splints that never went away, and apparently the Nike running shoes I had were not good for me since I overpronate when I walk/run.

    So... I got some running shoes that dealt with that issue, and they have helped me a lot. Be prepared to pay a good bit of $$$ for decent shoes though. Mine cost me $100 on sale. The regular price for my shoes would have been closer to $175. I occasionally get shin splints now, but that is usually during the winter months. The only other thing that has helped me personally is military combat boots, but those are not for everyone.....
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    Jun 08, 2012 2:24 AM GMT
    Shint splint is inevitable. I would suggest you do max incline with around 4.0-4.5 mile per hour on treadmill during recovery days so you do not have to put constant pressure on your bones.
  • vbportugal

    Posts: 82

    Jun 08, 2012 2:43 AM GMT
    I used to get shin splints while running track.

    The two main things my coaches recommended was running heal-toe and not on the balls of my feet and also to run on the turf surfaces rather than the pavement or track while running distances. It helped slow them down but they kept getting worse so eventually I started shaving my legs and wrapping my shins completely in tape. Dont know if it did anything but it made it feel better for a bit.