Shin Splints

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2015 3:39 AM GMT
    Years ago when I was a sprinter in high school, I got these things really bad --- i'd have to ice them before/after practice, and would basically eat advil all day long (exaggeration, but that's what it felt like).

    So now, years and years later, they're coming back. I run 3x a week first thing in the morning. I stretch out before hand. I typically do anywhere between 1.75-2.25 miles...but it's all in my neighborhood, so it's on pavement/sidewalk.

    I play racquetball usually 1-2x a week (hard wood surface, lots of jarring action back and forth)

    Aside from icing and (more) Advil/Motrin, is there anything else to combat this?

    Any specific brands of shoes one would recommend? any specific stretching that seemed to work?

    When not running, should I be wearing shoes? or go more barefoot? flip flops? Should my running shoes be only worn for running, and not every-day wear? any thoughts would be helpful.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 31, 2015 3:57 AM GMT
    Maybe add a little more spring in our step icon_biggrin.gif

    spring-shoes.jpg
  • mybud

    Posts: 11837

    Jan 31, 2015 4:42 AM GMT
    I used to have problems until a sports medicine doc showed me an exercise. You write the alphabet using your big toe...A,B,C,....Z. The movements help. Do it several times a day.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jan 31, 2015 5:56 AM GMT
    mybud saidI used to have problems until a sports medicine doc showed me an exercise. You write the alphabet using your big toe...A,B,C,....Z. The movements help. Do it several times a day.


    Write it???
    You mean like trace the outline of the letter on the floor?
    That's odd .... I wonder why that would work?
  • mrwritenow

    Posts: 15

    Jan 31, 2015 1:48 PM GMT
    I used to get shin splints regularly. I haven't had any in years because of the therapy that was recommended to develope the shin muscles.
    - Vigorously massage/rub the shins and calves to get some blood flow and oxygen into the area. You can also use moist heat; warm or hot towel.
    - Write the alphabet with your feet in 3 different positions 1) feet above my head laying in my back, 2) legs long while laying on the floor, and 3) seated on a high stool with feet dangling. A therapist used to have me do the 2nd one with ice packs on my shins.
    - Pat your feet on the floor while doing sit-ups and crunches. Alternating feet is good but you can also lift both at the same time.
    - Use a theraband, riesistance band. Stretch the feet, the ankles, toes, and legs using this inexpensive device
    - heel rocking is a difficult one to explain but I'll try. Lay supine and rock your body using your feet. 1) legs bent with feet planted near the sitz bones, 2) legs long, and 3) legs and arms extended in an X shape rocking from one heel to the opposite arm then shift.
    Of course, none of these should be done while you are experiencing shin splints. It would be too painful. You will have to wait until the pain is gone. Build up gradually; don't do too much at once. I used to have to ice my shins for 10-20 minutes after each and every activity. Now I don't need to do that at all.
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    Jan 31, 2015 2:54 PM GMT
    Thanks for the post! I've been having the same issue. My CrossFit coach told me I needed new shoes. I have been doing some stretching as well.
    I have found that if I push through it it goes from painful to just a numb feeling...which is probably not very healthy?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2015 3:22 PM GMT
    There is one way to treat this and it should be semi-permanent.
    The skin over the inner shin bone and blade edges has a layer of fascia under it.
    Place your flat hand on the skin with just enough pressure not to slip.
    Move up/down n L/R, to check which direction the skin and fascia are stuck.
    Apply heat, the moist one described in prev post, and then try again u/d L/R.... Pick the direction it was stuck, push all the skin in that direction, dont glide along skin, make your hand stick to one spot, very important. Hold with constamt pressure for up to a minute or it cools down.
    After that try some skin rolling, NOT foam rolling!
    Pick up the skin and roll like paper down and across the entire tibialis anterior...
    Fascial restriction can lead to compartmemt syndrome for some people, so foam rolling is like causing inflammation and more discomfort.

    Enjoy painless exercise!
  • Olympus1991

    Posts: 46

    Jan 31, 2015 4:06 PM GMT
    awesome! I'm starting to get it when I reach my 4km mark. I'll give it a go! icon_smile.gif
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Jan 31, 2015 5:05 PM GMT
    I found a jig in the dusty corner of my old Navy gym for "shin curls". It was perfect for building shin muscles. And cured me of shin splints in a month!

    I have never seen another one anywhere.

    I bet you could use TRX straps or a kettle ball to work the same muscles. Think of something like old school toe straps on a bike.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2015 1:55 AM GMT
    Most of the time shin splints while running happen because your calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) are tight, naturally making your toes point down when you raise your leg for a step. Your body compensates by trying to lift your toes up toward your body with the muscles in the front of your lower leg (anterior tibialis). In most people the anterior tibialis muscle is pretty weak, so after a few strides it tires out, gets extremely tight and really hurts -- this is the shin splint.

    The remedy is to 1. stretch the hell out of your calf muscles, preferably on a regular basis. It will help a lot to use additional weight, maybe stand on the weighted calf machine with more weight than you usually lift and drop your heel. Hold for 30 seconds, rest, repeat. Do this regularly and you'll start to get some flexibility back in your calves. 2. Strengthen your tibialis muscle by doing dorsiflexion exercises (movements where you're bringing your toes up toward your body. The suggestion someone made above about writing the alphabet with your toes works in this way because you're using your tibialis muscle to pull your toes up, but you can use a dorsiflexion machine if your gym has it or even get creative with bands.

    Hope this helps.
  • mybud

    Posts: 11837

    Feb 01, 2015 4:46 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk said
    mybud saidI used to have problems until a sports medicine doc showed me an exercise. You write the alphabet using your big toe...A,B,C,....Z. The movements help. Do it several times a day.


    Write it???
    You mean like trace the outline of the letter on the floor?
    That's odd .... I wonder why that would work?
    The movements loosen the muscles in the shins and ankles...and Yes..it works.
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    Feb 01, 2015 5:42 AM GMT
    Great stuff guys, thanks.

    about the adding heat though --- I'm curious about that because I was under the impression that shin splints were a form of inflammation -- why would you add heat to an inflamed source? motrin is used to treat inflammation and ice is used to "cool" it as well...just thought heat would make it worse for some reason.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2015 1:20 PM GMT
    mybud saidI used to have problems until a sports medicine doc showed me an exercise. You write the alphabet using your big toe...A,B,C,....Z. The movements help. Do it several times a day.


    PT showed me this too. Moves the muscles every direction and it does really help.
  • genotype2013

    Posts: 19

    Feb 01, 2015 2:09 PM GMT
    at the first sign of shin splints I massage that long muscle along the bone DEEP. Next morning I feel fine. Some times I use a golf ball. I roll it along the muscle. The trick is that to get rid of the pain you have to feel the pain while your rubbing it DEEP.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2015 10:48 PM GMT
    willular saidGreat stuff guys, thanks.

    about the adding heat though --- I'm curious about that because I was under the impression that shin splints were a form of inflammation -- why would you add heat to an inflamed source? motrin is used to treat inflammation and ice is used to "cool" it as well...just thought heat would make it worse for some reason.


    The heat is to turn the fascia into a gel so it can be moved and reorganized.
    Not applied post-exercise during inflammation.
    Treating the symptom- stretching muscles and avoiding tiring tibAnterior.
    Treating the root- giving the muscles more room in the fascial sheath, to allow proper waste removal during exercise. The benefit is more space for water to circulate sand clean the muscle as it works.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Feb 01, 2015 11:02 PM GMT
    At one time, when I lived in San Diego, I also had trouble with shin splints. Nothing suggested seemed to help. Finally, I tried running barefooted on a beach. That caused the problem to go away.

    When running barefooted on a beach, near the water where the sand is firm, the heals sink in a bit lower than the toes. That puts less strain on the ligaments on the front of the leg thereby relieving the shin splints. However, it does take some getting used to. Your feet have to toughen up so you will no longer get blisters. Also, it increases the strain on the Achilles tendons and calf muscles, but the body adjusts to that. After these adjustments take place, it is possible to run long distances, i.e., three miles or considerably more, in comfort.

    Of course that would not work unless there is a good beach available for running. In San Diego, I was able to run many miles nude on a beach.
  • aus_Sean36

    Posts: 31

    Feb 02, 2015 3:23 AM GMT
    I used to suffer very badly from shin splints, to the point where I couldn't walk at all after a decent run or a game of football. Outside of the great suggestions given above (especially about stretching), I saw a podiatrist and had orthotic inserts made for my shoes, which I have refitted every 18-24 months.

    In the past 5 years in which my running has actually increased, I have not had a single reoccurrence of shin splints.
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    Feb 05, 2015 3:28 AM GMT
    So, I have been purposefully trying to run different --- making a conscious effort to run on the balls of my feet, rather than heel-to-toe, and I have noticed (even after a few runs) that it has definitely helped. I'm still going to look into better shoes anyway, but changing my stride/style of running has made big chances.

    My calves are sore as all hell, but at least my shins aren't killing me! (or at least, not as bad....especially during a run).