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joan9's avatar

Any advice for shin splints?

Asked by joan9 (14 points ) June 14th, 2008

I have developed shin splints and am in training for my first marathon. feeling discouraged about it since i now only run 45 minutes or less.

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18 Answers

lefteh's avatar

First of all, don’t be discouraged, as this is a perfectly normal step in the training process.
Anyway, the number one rule is to remember to STRETCH! It seems like 90% of the time, people who are developing shin splints are not stretching their legs.
When you start to feel them, STOP RUNNING. Don’t worry about your training not being effective.. you need to stop and rest once you start feeling shin splints coming on.
You can also exercise your shins; for example, walking on your heels for an extended period of time or jogging downhill.
Good luck!

gailcalled's avatar

My experience was with my daughter when she ran and jumped the hurdles in high school. Once she developed shin splints, she eventually had to switch activities – and now does mountain biking, regular biking, swimming, skiing. Every body is different, I know…hope that your ss’s calm down.

She saw a sport’s medicine guy and did what he said. But eventually her legs said something different.

mcbealer's avatar

When I ran on the cross-country team, my coach had me use heat packs and stretch well pre-run and then (ouch) ice afterwards.

SuperMouse's avatar

My karate instructor told me to take Dixie cups, fill them with water, freeze them, then roll them up and down my chins. I don’t remember whether it helped too much, but it might be worth a try.

lefteh's avatar

Your chins? Karate must be tough for you.

SuperMouse's avatar

@lefteh, it was Hapkido (tons of kicking) and a style of Kung Fu called Pek Kwar with lots of moving meditations.

emilyrose's avatar

I did the same as supernut and was going to recommend that.

gailcalled's avatar

@Emily, are you rolling ice up and down chins, or shins? If the former, send us a picture, please. (Altho you are too young to have more than one chin, I bet.)

lefteh's avatar

That misspelling is what I was referring to in my previous comment, haha. I too would love to see a picture.

SuperMouse's avatar

I was a bit slow to get this one, let’s pretend that “c” is an “s” ok? @gailcalled, your post creates quite a visual. LOL!!!

gailcalled's avatar

@super: Pretending. I knew it was a typo but an irresistible one.

Altho I am not going to mention any names, having learned my lesson, on another post someone talked about “ginny” pigs. Think of the possibilites there also .(oink or hic).

pnutbutterngabby's avatar

Crosstrain! Stop pounding the pavement and get on a bike or in the pool. Your shin splints aren’t going to go away no matter how much ice you put on them. Make sure you are weight lifting too. Be very careful and take shin splints seriously, they are literally fractures in your bone that will put you on crutches if you don’t give them proper treatment.

lefteh's avatar

@pnutbutterngabby: I can’t speak to the validity of your advice, but I can tell you that shin splints are a muscular problem (as opposed to bone fractures). While stress fractures to the tibia can help cause shin splints, it is the inflammation of the muscles and tendons that is the problem.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I have also seen a doctor about shin splints, and I was under the same impression as lefteh, that they were caused by inflamed tendons.

I have one more thing about lefteh’s comments. about running downhill. it is true that this puts stress on your shins. (that’s why it hurts if you run downhill or walk down stairs while you have shin splints) i wouldn’t recommend doing it while you have them, or soon after they go away. i dont think that’s what lefteh was advocating, and i just wanted to clarify.

my physical therapist gave me some specific stretches that helped me a lot. i still do them.

one is to stand on some stairs, put the ball of your foot on the stair, and let your heel hang over the edge. let your weight pull your heel down, and avoid bouncing. hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.

this did wonders for me.

another one is to lie on the floor on your back. lift you right leg so that it makes a 90 degree angle with your body. then, rotate it to the left, and let it come down so that it almost rests on the floor while keeping your shoulders both on the floor. sometimes it helps to look left. repeat with left leg.

shin splints are often but not always caused by overpronation, which is when you walk too much on the inside of your foot. this happens with people who have low arches. if this is the case, the shin splints can come back repeatedly. (this is what happened to me) finally i saw a orthotic specialist, and he made custom shoe inserts for me. they cost a chunk of change, but they were so worth it. my shin splints seem gone for good finally, and i am free to run.

hope your shins are recovering! let us know how it goes!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

from the Mayo Clinic’s website:
“The pain is the result of an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone.”

<http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/shin-splints/DS00271>

Also see this list of treatments for it: <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/shin-splints/DS00271/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs>

joan9's avatar

Thanks for all the replies! Turns out it was my shoes. The store I went to had suggested a stability shoe… but I have almost flat feet, and over pronate… so once I switched to New Balance 992’s (motion control with stability, but primarily a motion control shoe) the shin splints weren’t an issue.

joan9's avatar

i should mention i discovered my shoes might be wrong after reading a bunch of stuff online, and especially through this site’s shoe dog app: http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/product/shoe-dog.jsp

BarefootChris's avatar

Look into barefoot or minimalist running. I used to have terrible shin splints on the inside of either leg right above my ankles for months. I eased off on the running for a while, and in the meantime read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDoughall (which is an amazing book for any runner). That book introduced me to the idea of barefoot/minimalist running, and ever since I’ve had no shin problems whatsoever.

If you give it a try, remember to start really slow!

Good resources if you’re interested: http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/runner-communities/barefoot-running
http://therunningbarefoot.com/

Hope your shins improve!

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