/ Shin Splints? Do I have them? How to recover?

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puppythedog on 12 Nov 2012
I started running a little while ago, using interval programs to increase my ability to run until I could Run 5k. Following a week of probably overdoing it (A slow 4 mile run, two days later a quick [for me] 5 k and then three days after that running intervals for 9.5k) the inside of my leg below the knee hurt.
Internet research suggested shin flint which is apparently not an illness but a symptom. I've laid off for a week, can I go running again yet?

I know that any advice I get here is not the same as seeking medical attention, I work within Health and fully understand that I am responsible for myself. Also I understand that I would have to pay for a sport physio consultation because NHS money should not be spent as a priority on a muppet like me. I just want some thoughts from people who run and may have been there.
cezza - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

there is some evidence to show that shin splints are as a result of running with a heel strike. If your heel hits the floor first, your foot flaps forward, stretching the tendons and muscles in the front of your leg. Try shifting to a mid strike or forefoot strike.
swhitinguk - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog:
I'm well versed in shin splints - I train for half ironman distance and occasionally get them to various degrees. Here's how I deal with them:

1) Don't overtrain. It takes time for your body to get used to mileage.
2) Run your legs under cold water when you come back (e.g. outside tap)
3) Get new trainers. Make sure they're good for your level of pronation (I have extremely flat feet - for short runs I don't use my custom made orthotics though)
4) See a podiatrist about your foot position. People selling you trainers will have some knowledge, but a proper podiatrist can tell you a lot more.
5) See a physio about stretches and lower body conditioning for your biomechanics (flat feet causes stiffness in the hip etc).
6) Get on a bike and in the pool. Running lots for a new runner isn't good. Especially if you're carrying a bit extra weight.
7) Forefoot running sounds great, but be wary. If you're not a good runner, it may do you more damage than good. You will likely get stiff calfs and soreness caused by it.
puppythedog on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to cezza: Thanks for the tip. Any idea how much of a lay off I should give or how easy to take it when I try again? (scale 1-10 with ten being going out for a run at the maximum distance I can run at a reasonable pace for me and 1 being right back to running for only twenty minutes and even then intervalling those minutes)

puppythedog on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to swhitinguk: Thanks for those tips, I do over pronate slightly. Do you take a break when you get the pains or just dial it back?
swhitinguk - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to swhitinguk: I should add that I stretch, but it doesn't really seem to make much difference. I'm hypermobile in certain places (not sure whether that affects this problem?) so stretching isn't always useful.
swhitinguk - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog: I tend to reduce the running for a few weeks and substitute for other cardio, swimming is boring so I got out on the bike instead.
Eric9Points - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

If you've not run for a week I'd suggest going out for a gently run to see how it feels. It may take quite a bit longer to get rid of them though.
puppythedog on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to swhitinguk: Thank you very much
puppythedog on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric9Points: Thanks, I think I'll give it a whirl on Wednesday.
cezza - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

Take it easy to start with, and your calfs will probably feel stiff and sore to start with as you are using muscles that you haven't used before. But my own experience was that I could then train to run further and faster with much less pain.
rmt - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog: Definitely recommend getting your trainers fitted by a specialist running store - one that does a video analysis to determine which shoes are best for you. I had problems with shin splints for years. I tried orthotics and specialists and some worked a little bit but never cleared the problem. A video analysis to recommend a decent set of trainers fitted to my feet and I've had no probles since. I would, however, advise building back up slowly. Any pain means you need to stop running and rest longer, or they'll take forever to clear up.
jethro kiernan - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog: I had some good advice with is to exercise the muscles at the front of you calf so heel lowers rather than raises, so you focus on dropping your heels off a step but concentrate on a slow lower this stretches and builds up the muscles around the shin bone, good trainers (as in the correct sort of trainer, support, neutral etc not expensive)
robthered - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to cezza:

I can back this up anecdotally.

I've always had a lot of problems with my knees and used to get 'shin splints' really badly - couldn't run for more than about 5k at anything like decent pace. At the time I was sold a big chunky pair of Nike's (Lunar Glide or something) with loads of cushioning. It was in a specialist running shop and they told me I needed the cushioning because I was heavy (still am at 14st). Problems continued and probably got worse.

Give up running for a bit, but then get back in to it a couple of years ago when the 'minimalist' thing was taking off and bought a pair of inov8's. I also made my self stick to, mainly, off road and trails.

Three years later and keeping with minimalist trainers, touchwood, I've not had a single problem with knees nor shins.
Steve John B - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to rmt:
> (In reply to puppythedog) Definitely recommend getting your trainers fitted by a specialist running store - one that does a video analysis to determine which shoes are best for you.

I would definitely recommend not trusting a shop assistant who's been on a manufacturer's half day course and hasn't got a clue how to interpret what they're seeing on the screen (round of sarcastic applause for Up & Running Harrogate). I ended up 90 down with shoes that were completely unsuitable and f*cked knees - and when I went back after seeing a hospital podiatrist they refused to accept they were wrong (offered me some second-hand women's insoles to take home and cut to shape as corrective inserts - thanks guys).

Finding a shop with people who know what they're doing is far more important IMHO - I now drive 90 mins each way to Accelerate in Sheffield if I need new runnies which is a pain in the *rse but at least no pain in the shins/heels/knees etc

</rant>
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alancash100 - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

Hi,

I used to get shin splints as I'm a heavy runner (15.5 stone). I also live in Sheffield wich is very hilly. The combination of the two means I have a high impact on the ground / my shins, mainly when running downhill. Basically I cured it with new running shoes; I just went for the most padded heels I could find. Also, I try to avoid running on tarmac and when I do, I try to run up the steeper hills and down more gradual slopes to lessen the impact. I found it impossible to alter my running style; I run how I run!

I still have a little soreness in the shins, but hav found I can control it ok.

Hope that helps - I'd be interested to know your build as I have no proof that my weight contributes to the shin splints - just a hunch.

Al

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