Shin splints

Discussion in 'Ask the Docs' started by dunetraveller, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    I posted the whole of this on my blog, but suffice it to say I did a little too much too soon doing some uphill work with already tight calves. I think I have a mild case of shin splints. Not painful, but I had a weird sensation like a stretched nerve, if that makes sense. I have been doing some wall stretches as well as some stretches for the soleus and gastroc which seemed to loosen the calf and also eased the sensation; massage and icing as well. My question is: given a few days off, could I expect to go jogging on relatively level ground, or am I just asking for it? Also, would applying heat either to the area or the calves before I go (to loosen things up) be a good idea, or just a normal warm-up walk? I know from reading that nowadays, for acute problems, ice alone is recommended, but older wisdom was ice then heat, so just clarifying. Thanks.

    John T.
     

  2. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    Where I feel the sensation is

    Where I feel the sensation is the larger red area labeled anterior shin splint. Like I said, it isn't painful, and isn't tender. Never having had them before I was tempted to relate it to things I have had, but I am in uncharted territory here.

    [​IMG]
     

  3. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    Well the day for a run with

    Well the day for a run with my friend came. I decided, since I hadn't heard anything yet, to be reasonable. I ace wrapped my right leg, which is the only one still with any symptoms, stretched my calves, and walked. Did a five and a half mile walk around the green pond. During the conversation we talked about barefoot running. I dispelled the myths, and explained the efficiency and as much biomechanics as I could reliably relate. I may be converting my exercise partner into thinking about doing the barefoot thing, or at least the minshoe thing. Plans to go and do it again Friday. Will see how my leg is by then with continuing treatment.

    John T.
     

  4. mykroberts

    mykroberts Barefooters
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    Are you sure its shin

    Are you sure its shin splints? From my (shod) experience they become very tender to the touch, like it is bruised. Stretching also does not really alleviate it - I believe its inflammation of the connective tissue joining the muscle to the bone. The hard impact (think it is more common with shod heal striking) is tearing some of these fibers.
     
  5. Dr. Mark

    Dr. Mark Barefooters
    1. West Virginia

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    John TGreat questions on a

    John T

    Great questions on a common symptom. I can answer in some general concepts but without seeing you would not have a clue about what you specifically are doing, where, you may be weak, tight, etc… These tips may help though to self assess.



    For starters “shin splints” is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Many folks with “shin splints” end up having stress fracture, compartment syndrome, or other specific diagnosis related to this region. So beware the bone pain and stress fracture. If it hurts to touch on the boen….it is bone pain and stress reaction/fracture. Be very cautious and progressive with this.



    Causes of pain here may be due to combination of gait pattern (are you in a nice soft elastic recoil pattern?), stability in mid stance (can you stand and stabilize on one leg?), ability to dorsiflex first ray in full dorsiflextion of foot (can you bend big toe back when calf in dorsiflexion?), and dorsiflexion of gastroc/soleus (can you do a basic squat?).



    Of these the ability to stabilize your self completely solid and balanced is the most important in all prevention. The runners goal is to be able to stand on one leg, eyes closed, and be rock solid for 30 sec. If you cannot do this…practice more. Get rid of your desk. I’m standing on one lg now typing this .



    Have someone good in your region assess the above things and do not just treat the symptoms.



    Best,



    Dr. Mark
     
  6. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    Thanks for the responses. I

    Thanks for the responses. I don't feel any pain when pressing on the bone pretty darn hard, so that's good. I think it may well be tendonitis. Since the area I was running in was heavily sloped I think I put a lot of undue strain on the whole system in a way I hadn't before. Mostly I have stuck to sidewalks. The area I ran in recently is around a drainage channel and is sloped inwards toward the ravine to encourage rainfall into it as well as being generally up and down from being in the foothills. Think I'll stick to much more level ground from now on. Add that I changed my running style for that one run and I probably didn't do myself any good.

    I can flex my big toe up with foot dorsiflexed. Good on squat as well. With all my efforts this week I am pretty limber as I write this. I've been reading about foam rollers. I may invest in one, but I would much rather improve my running to where I won't need one. :)

    Luckily I have a new absolutely level area to go to now. I am also working on that one leg stand. Eyes open I have good stability, but close the eyes and whoa boy. My proprioception is a bit lacking, but improving! First time I tried to close my eyes from a stable stand and I felt the world just rotated out from under me. I love little challenges like this so I'll definitely keep up the practice.

    Won't be running any until Friday, so I'll update Saturday I guess... give my body a day to let me know how I'm doing.

    John T.
     

  7. Neil_D

    Neil_D Chapter Presidents
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    Hi John,I would have thought

    Hi John,

    I would have thought it would be difficult to get shin splints doing uphill running as it is a lot harder to heel strike which is what always caused my shin problems.

    I would always get shin pain running on flat or downward sloping ground. Tight calves wouldn't help though. I would be really careful just to make sure you are not pushing off when you go uphill, if your calves are tight they could pop, they should be as relaxed as possible, just use your hamstrings to pull your leg off the ground and lean into the hill.

    Cheers

    Neil
     
  8. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    If you can, save the hills

    If you can, save the hills for the latter part of your run, after your shins and calves have warmed up. It seems a lot of people get shin splints from running hills while they're cold.
     
  9. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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     Been trying the advice to

    Been trying the advice to work on balance and proprioception by doing single leg stands with eyes closed. Interesting. I have discovered I have weak ankles.

    The most common problem I have keeping balance is keeping the feet on both legs from immediately pronating as soon as my eyes close. Without my eyes to see how much to supinate to correct for it, I get wobbly and either overcorrect or give in to the inward motion. Both ways cause the house of cards to collapse so to speak.

    Getting better, but only as I strengthen my ankle overall. Can't expect much in a day or so, so true success will be through time and much effort.

    What this shows me as relates to my OP is I was likely overpronating once my ankles got tired from compensating for the side slope. Was dark as I was doing it at dusk which would have been similar to having closed eyes I would think. Also because my attention was so focused on avoiding rocks on the path. Guess I should consider myself lucky the run was fairly short. Had I been able to run a lot longer, I might well have done some good damage. At least I know I have at least one problem and the means to correct it.
    John T.
     

  10. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Very insightful!  Good stuff!

    Very insightful! Good stuff!
     
  11. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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    Update. Been experiencing off

    Update. Been experiencing off and on soreness at the point I indicated. No amount of stetching seemed to touch it, and usually the days after exercise it would be much worse leading me to think the worst. Well, I think I have an answer for why. I got myself a nice blue foam roller.

    I should take a moment to say a word or two about this self torture device that is all the rage and ought to be a part of any dungeon. If you have nice loosey goosey muscles it's a wonderful thing. If you have what they call adhesions, I HIGHLY suggest you use it in an area free from children, family, friends who think you a saint, and anyone else easily offended cause as soon as you roll over such an area your first impulse will be to let loose with a string of profanity such that anyone within earshot will have evidence of either tourettes or demonic possession!

    I found said areas on my shin. I bit my tongue nearly in twain since my wife was asleep and the cats were still on edge from the fireworks and I would have put them over the cliff. Took about four attempts over two hours to work out the worst of them.

    I awoke this morning to a much better feeling shin, but I now know I have more roller work ahead of me when I get home. I know I spoke in such a way as to potentially scare away anyone from ever buying a foam roller, but believe me when I say have at least one of these babies around!

    John T.
     

  12. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Ha!  You crack me up, DT!

    Ha! You crack me up, DT!
     
  13. dunetraveller

    dunetraveller Barefooters
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     I've finally gotten to the

    I've finally gotten to the point where balancing on one leg is not a problem for however long I choose to. Now doing it blind is the hard part. I have a serious issue with my inner ear telling me what's going on, but it seems to be getting better, but much more slowly than just getting balanced with sight.

    Also I have more balance problems wearing shoes (VFF KSOs) than barefoot. Could be differences in thickness in soling material causing a change to how my body prefers to hold posture, so I have to make sure I do both since I run in both VFFs and BF.

    When wearing my KSOs it feels like I am having to balance on the outside edge of my feet. It feels like there isn't enough material under the pad behind my big toe to complete a good three point contact (heel, behind fourth/fifth toe, behind big toe), so I just fall forward to the inside, or fall straight off to the outside. If I try and use the big toe to help with this, it inadvertently lifts the other four toes up and eliminates them being able to help with feedback. I may have discovered a problem with the KSOs; but it could just be me, as my foot has changed shape since I have started this whole process.

    If I get a pair of huaraches with same thickness of soling I can try and see if that is better at allowing me to maintain better balance.

    John T.
     

  14. Dr James Stoxen DC

    Dr James Stoxen DC Barefooters
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    Hello John,

    What I have found is that shin splints are usually a result of impacts that are not absorbed well.

    Here are 3 video tutorials that will show you deep tissue treatments to help release some spasms in your foot and shins that may be causing or resulting from this hard landing.

    Video Tutorial #75 The Deep Tissue Treatment Dr. James Stoxen DC Uses For Shin Splints

    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/05/25/video-tutorial-video-tutorial-75-the-deep-tissue-treatment-dr-james-stoxen-dc-uses-for-shin-splints/

    Video Tutorial #80 Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How To Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Subtalar Joint Of The Ankle On The Inside.

    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2011/08/...treatment-of-the-subtalar-joint-of-the-ankle/

    Video Tutorial #81 Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How To Self-Help Deep Tissue Treatment Of The Ankle (Subtalar Joint Outside)
    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2011/08/03/video-tutorial-81-dr-james-stoxen-dc-demonstrates-how-to-self-help-deep-tissue-treatment-of-the-subtalar-joint-of-the-ankle/

    Video Tutorial #87 Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates Self-Help Deep Tissue Of The Ankle Mortise
    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2011/08/10/video-tutorial-87-dr-james-stoxen-dc-demonstrates-self-help-deep-tissue-of-the-ankle-mortise/


    Here are my last two articles you might find helpful:

    How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?

    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/13/video-tutorial-12-is-running-bad-for-knees-how-the-body-springs-back-safely-from-impacts-of-running/

    Self-Tests & Exercises To Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination From Impacts During Walking and Running

    http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/18/video-tutorial-28-the-impact-absorbing-landing-muscles-of-the-human-spring-mechanism-testing-and-training-the-spring-suspension-muscles/

    Dr James Stoxen DC, President, Team Doctors The Barefoot Running Doctor
     

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