Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shin Splints from HELL!!!

Hello and Happy Sunday Runners! What a busy week! Whew! How's the running going? Are you meeting YOUR goals? You know sometimes life gets in the way of things, or illness, kids or just excuses! Something that you DON'T want to get in your way, which has recently gotten in MY way is Shin Splints. Can we just say OUCH?! I was running the other day and finally experienced that awesome groove of running: good stride, good breathing, good form, and here comes the endorphins! Until...I stepped wrong or something and the SHIN SPLINTS FROM HELL kicked in and kicked my butt. Something to horrid that it literally stopped me in my tracks. So I thought I'd take this post to give some inof on shin slpints, what causes them, how to treat them, and how to prevent them! I hope you find this helpful and can avoid the "Oh My Gosh, I've just experienced something like walking on fire with my shins!"

According to

"The term "shin splints" refers to pain along the shinbone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg. The pain is caused by an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. Shin splints are caused by an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. The overload is often caused by specific athletic activities, such as:

■Running downhill

■Running on a slanted or tilted surface

■Running in worn-out footwear

■Engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops, such as basketball and tennis

Shin splints can also be caused by training too hard, too fast or for too long.

Shin splints are most common among runners, particularly those just starting a running program. If you have flat arches, your feet may have a tendency to roll too far inward (pronate) when running — which can contribute to shin splints.

In most cases, you can treat shin splints with simple self-care steps:
■Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort — but don't give up all physical activity. While you're healing, try low-impact exercises, such as swimming, bicycling or water running. If your shin pain causes you to limp, consider using crutches until you can walk normally without pain.

■Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to the affected shin for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel.

■Reduce swelling. Elevate the affected shin above the level of your heart, especially at night. It may also help to compress the area with an elastic bandage or compression sleeve. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, the area becomes numb or swelling occurs below the wrapped area.

■Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve), aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to reduce pain.

■Wear proper shoes. Your doctor may recommend a shoe that's especially suited for your foot type, your stride and your particular sport.

■Consider arch supports. Arch supports can help cushion and disperse stress on your shinbones. Off-the-shelf arch supports come in various sizes and can be fitted immediately. More durable arch supports can be custom-made from a plaster cast of your foot.

It's also important to resume your usual activities gradually. If your shin isn't completely healed, returning to your usual activities may only cause continued pain.

Stretching from

WALL STRETCH: Stand with your hands against a wall with your left foot approximately two to three feet from the wall. Keep your left leg straight, your right leg bent, your feet pointed straight ahead, and heels on the ground. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, switch legs, repeat two or three times, and switch sides. Exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton suggests doing the stretch several times a day; stretching only postrun may not be enough to loosen really tight calves.

FOAM ROLL: Rolling your calf over a foam roller after running can help break up microadhesions--where muscle tissue sticks to the outer fascia--that cause pain, says Matt Schneider, certified athletic trainer and certified physician assistant at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. Sit on the floor with your right calf on the roller. Cross your left leg over your right, resting that ankle on your right shin. With your elbows supporting you, lift your glutes off the floor and shift your body to slowly roll your right calf along the roller. Repeat on your left leg.

SHIN LIFTER: Lie faceup on a hamstring curl machine, and place your toes under the footholds. Flex your feet toward you to work the muscles in the front of your lower legs. An at-home alternative: Sit on a chair or the edge of a bed with your feet hanging down, not touching the floor. Put coins in a sock and rest it on the top of your foot. Raise and lower your foot, flexing at the ankle.

HEEL/TOE WALK: Walk across a room with your forefoot off the ground. Then walk back on your tiptoes. These exercises will strengthen your compartment muscles. "When these muscles are stronger, they can withstand more stress," Schneider says. "You want to build up these muscles so that they--and not the bone--take the brunt of the impact of running."

SEATED CALF RAISE: The gastrocnemius is easy to target with standing calf raises. But you won't reach the soleus, unless you work the calf with a bent knee. You can do that with seated calf raises using a machine at the gym (or by sitting in a chair, and putting some resistance like a dumbbell on your lap). Raise the weight up to a count of three, but then lower it slowly to a count of five to really work the muscle.

COMPARTMENT STRETCH: Standing up straight, bend one knee and bring your heel toward your glutes (like a classic quad stretch). But instead of grabbing your ankle, hold the top of your foot. "Holding your foot is the key to stretching the compartment," Dr. Rouzier says.

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