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Thread: Shin Splints

  1. #1

    Default Shin Splints

    Do any of you suffer from this? I have a heck of a time with it and read about the only thing a person can do is rest (no exercise) and ice the injured areas. That's ok but according to one medical site I saw read that a period of rest lasting 4-6 weeks without exercise will cause the inflammation to go down. The problem is I don't want to lose the ground I've gained just to start over again. Any tricks, remedies or ideas welcomed.

  2. #2
    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    I was a runner in high school and college and I had them quite a bit. It usually meant I needed new shoes. I would go through a pair of shoes every few months. Try anti-inflamatories such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium. I also used to take calcium supplements (tums) to prevent stress fractures. I never took time off because of shin splints. Just did the above and kept on truckin.

    There is a health and fitness sticky in the global discussion forumn. You might get more responses there.

  3. #3
    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    I always figured the more activity the quicker the muscle will "file" down the "splinters" .... plus at mile 11 of 23 with 75lbs on your back you cant stop and take a rest.

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

  4. #4

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    I wondered if new running shoes might do the trick. I'm looking into that. The thought of taking a break from my exercise routine doesn't appeal to me - I'd like to continue making progress. Right now I walk with some difficulty as it is. Of course out hunting/hiking a person has to ruck-up and carry on regardless - I'm just trying to work out a few of the kinks before the season starts in order to have a more successful and fulfiling time. Thanks for the advice.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 377PFA View Post
    I wondered if new running shoes might do the trick. I'm looking into that. The thought of taking a break from my exercise routine doesn't appeal to me - I'd like to continue making progress. Right now I walk with some difficulty as it is. Of course out hunting/hiking a person has to ruck-up and carry on regardless - I'm just trying to work out a few of the kinks before the season starts in order to have a more successful and fulfiling time. Thanks for the advice.
    Maybe look into spending some time swimming and using an eliptical trainer. Both will help maintain the fitness level while eliminating the impact that aggrivates the shin splints. The Anti-inflamitories are a good idea as well to get things settled down as quickly as possible.

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    Member akfaller's Avatar
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    Default Tape

    Try taping your shin splints, it's always helped me. First, find where the pain is, then start your tape on the opposite side of the shin bone, taping around your calf toward the pain (or if its both sides, start in the back of your leg going both ways), wrap this a couple times around making sure its not too tight and done. Basically what you're doing is taping the muscle towards the shin bone because the muscle is separating from it.

    Google, 'taping shin splints' and you should come up with more help.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for all the suggestions - I'm looking forward to easing this condition and get back to the gym.

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    Member AK Wonderer's Avatar
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    The treadmill or pavement running are usual culprits of shin splints. If your running on a treadmill try increasing the incline to the point where you're forced to run on the balls of your feet. This will reduce the muscle strain caused by the typical heal-toe running action and allow you to still get a workout in.

    It also helps to strengthen the muscle along your shin. You'll need a rubber exercise band. Sit on floor with your legs out in front of you. Tie the band around a secure object in front of you and place a loop around your forefoot. Pull your toes back stretching the band and engaging the shin muscle.

  10. #10

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    AK Wonderer - those are great ideas and I am going to give them a try. It's been two weeks since I've been on the treadmill and my shins still are painful to the touch. I'm going to try your suggestions. Thanks much.

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    Adding arch supports worked for me. Worth a try.

  12. #12
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Wonderer View Post
    The treadmill or pavement running are usual culprits of shin splints. If your running on a treadmill try increasing the incline to the point where you're forced to run on the balls of your feet. This will reduce the muscle strain caused by the typical heal-toe running action and allow you to still get a workout in.

    It also helps to strengthen the muscle along your shin. You'll need a rubber exercise band. Sit on floor with your legs out in front of you. Tie the band around a secure object in front of you and place a loop around your forefoot. Pull your toes back stretching the band and engaging the shin muscle.
    Quote Originally Posted by 377PFA View Post
    AK Wonderer - those are great ideas and I am going to give them a try. It's been two weeks since I've been on the treadmill and my shins still are painful to the touch. I'm going to try your suggestions. Thanks much.
    377PFA

    Shinsplints are caused by plodding, or more technically, heel striking. What happens is the flexor muscle in the front of the shin is relaxed at impact because the heel is hitting before tension on the ball of the foot can take up the "slack". The muscle is suffering tiny tears around it's margins from being jolted. Think of preparing to take a shot to the gut. You tense up your abs first otherwise you'll sustain more damage. A similar process is happening in your legs.

    The only way to cure shinsplints is time. The only way to prevent them is correct form when running. I would suggest using your down time to strengthen your legs and abs. A strong core is essential to good running form. Whenever one area of the body is weak the adjacent areas work harder to compensate and are then overstressed and often injured. Strengthening your midsection will improve your running form.

    Also, start your workouts with an all over stretching routine. Then work on your legs.
    Hip flexors, calves, hamstrings and quads. For us older guys strong legs = less knee pain.

    You can do other things to keep working your aerobic fitness: eliptical machines or stationary bikes are usually tolerable to shinsplint sufferers, and of course swimming if you have access to a pool.

    When you do get back to running focus on maintaining good form and RUN, don't plod. Take as long a stride as you can manage even if it feels weird and take the impact on the ball of the foot. Come summer if you have a place where it's safe to do so, walk around barefoot outside as much as possible. Barefoot walking allows the toes to work independently and strengthens the foot/ankle tendons which translates into better form when running.

    I second AK Wonderer's advice on the foot/shin exercises
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    1 proper shoes
    2 hydration
    3 proper stretching
    4 motrine
    5 calf support sleeves
    I went to skinny raven and they fitted my shoes and calf sleeves and I haven't had shin splints since. I now replace my shoes more frequently.

  14. #14

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    Thanks guys for the informative posts. I am definitely switching out shoes first and foremost and checking into calf sleeves. In terms of running form, I'm going to have to do more research into that one - could my plodding be from having too fast a pace on the treadmill vs. a more natural running pace on regular surface? Can I just hydrate myself with more coffee! Just kidding that's an area we all must focus on - it's true for me anyways. The pain is finally subsizing to where I can walk without pain, stairs still are not fun but I can tell healing is progressing. Looking forward to getting back into it and heeding the advice given here. Thanks much.

  15. #15
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    I'm sorry that I didn't see this thread sooner!

    I suffer from shin splints, too. I put a great deal of miles on my shoes.

    Here is what my running coach used to tell me. (She was a collegiate runner and her family has done Mt. Marathon multiple times). Be sure that you ice your shin splints. Basically, getting into that hot tub will do the opposite of what you need for your shin splints. Having the cold ice on it will make it tighten up. Do this on a regular basis until you feel better about getting back out and running.

    Ice
    Stay Hydrated
    Be sure to replenish your vitamin and mineral intake
    Stregnthen your muscles around your shins. (Lift your leg and spell the alphabet with the tips of your toes).
    Ice
    I think that swimming is a GREAT suggestion from Post #5.
    Walk normal on it. Don't try to over compensate by hobbling or walking in shorter steps.
    Buy a new pair of shoes between 400-600 miles of running or 6 months depending on how much you do run.
    Get arch supports for what you need. If you go to Sports Authority, they have a little nifty thing that you stand on that will show you how high your arches are.
    If you can afford Skinny Feet, go and figure out if you are pronating or overpronating.
    Don't give up and let us know how it goes for you.
    Lurker.

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    My wife, a fitness instructor, says "ice, rest, stretching, and strengthening" are the best ways of treating & preventing shin splints. She says one of the aims is to condition the shins so they don't get overtaxed in the future.

    Personally, I only get them after going on a rigorous hike after not hiking for a while, and the discomfort goes away like muscle soreness. The best way I've found to strengthen those muscles is to ice skate or rollerblade a lot.

  17. #17

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    The shin splints are gone! I'm going to be getting back into the exercise routine - but at a snails pace along with taking some really sound advice from the posts here. New shoes, new stretching and routine and I'm hoping I get back on track. In the mean time I think I've got plantar fasciatis(sp) to also contend with. I'm not aging gracefully. Can't hardly wait till I'm "old"!

  18. #18
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    While running in Oregon Bill Bowerman taught me to trace the A,B,C's with my toes to stretch the sheath of the muscle, do this while seated, a number of times per day. This helps the sheath get bigger and lets the muscle move inside without the pain. Get and wear a brace for the bottom of the foot at night for the Plantar Factitious, This helps to stretch the muscle while you sleep. Drink liquids with electrolytes, this helps to reduce the cramping, we used to take salt tablets by the handful, Bowerman always had a jar in his pocket to give us after practice. Ice is your friend. Stretching is the first and last thing to do when in training each day.

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