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Leg injuries

Injured Runner – Shin Splints

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Shin Splints are a condition that result in pain along the boarder of the tibia

(shinbone). Shin Splints can be taken care of with a little TLC. The pain is a result of the muscles pulling on the lining of your shinbone. If the stress of running exceeds your body’s ability to strengthen the area, your shin will start to hurt. Training errors and foot mechanics affect this area substantially. To correct these training errors visit Principles of Recovery. There are a couple of locations that shin splints develop; and treatment is a little bit different for each location.

A) Medial tibial stress syndrome is the term for shin splints that affect the inner border of the tibia (shinbone). If you rub your finger firmly along the inner border of your tibia you should be able to locate the sore area. Pain is more commonly felt in the middle third of the shin but can be higher or lower.

Treatments:

  • Principles of Recovery.
  • Insoles, or orthotics (custom foot supports) may help support the foot so that the muscles that attach to the shin don’t have to work as hard or as long.
  • Carefully stretching the calf muscles two or three times per day can often speed recovery. The bent knee calf stretch is particularly effective, you should stretch firmly enough to notice a gentle stretch in the area of pain.
  • Ice is effective and should be applied after each run.
  • Don’t forget strengthening and balance training. It is amazing how well this works, especially if you have been dealing with shin splints for a while.
  • An anti-inflammatory can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. Ibunex is a new product that contains ibuprofen as well as a blend of glucosamine and MSN.
  • Massaging the muscle tissue along the border of the shin often speeds recovery. Use your thumb and some lotion to stroke upward along the shinbone.
  • Walking bare-foot for 2-5 minutes helps to strengthening the muscles in the feet which will decrease the strain on the area of the shin. This works best in a grassy area but is also beneficial if a sidewalk is your only option.

B) Anterior lateral tibial stress syndrome is the term for shin splints that affect the outer border of the tibia (shinbone). If you rub your finger firmly along the front, outer border of the tibia you should be able to locate the sore area. The muscles that attach to this portion of the tibia (dorsiflexors) lift your toes toward your shin. This group of muscles are the most used muscles while running – they are active for a greater portion of the running cycle than any other muscle.

Treatments:

  • See Principles of Recovery.
  • Stretching does wonders to improve these shin splints. If your calf muscles are tight there will be more work for these muscles (dorsiflexors) and also more stress on the bone. The bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day should be done. Stretching the dorsiflexor muscles will also help workout the soreness in this area. See bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches. as well as dorsiflexor stretch.
  • Ice is effective and should be applied after each run.
  • Strengthening of the dorsiflexors is often very effective for these shin splints. A way of strengthening them is walking on your heels for a couple of minutes. If walking on your heels is painful, try doing the same movement while seated in a chair.
  • Massaging the muscle on the front of the shin helps reduce the pain. You can massage your self by sliding your fingers along the front, outer border of the shin working upwards towards your knee.
  • An anti-inflammatory can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. See Ibunex. It is a new product that contains ibuprofen as well as a blend of glucosamine and MSN.
  • Insoles, or orthotics (custom foot supports) may help support the foot so that the muscles that attach to the shin don’t have to work as hard or as long.