It Stabs & Burns
Hey guys, with spring just around the corner, and the outdoor running season just about to kick off I thought it would be a great idea to talk to you all of you about an important and common injury that affects most runners.
This nasty and painful injury plagues me every summer and I hate running because of it. However, there is hope. There is a way to get rid of this nasty little injury. But I am not going to get into it just yet. First, I want to explain what shin splints are, how you get them, and finally I am going to give you guy’s three tips on how to never get them again.
So first, what are shin splints?
WebMD defines shin splints as: “a condition that causes pain and sometimes swelling in the front part of the lower leg.” That is as straightforward definition of shin splints as you can get. To get a little more technical shin splits can be caused by micro fractures of the tibia (shin bone) or too many micro tears of the tissue that connects the muscle to the tibia bone from repeated stress (WebMD).
And yes, it is very painful and very uncomfortable.
How do you get this nasty little injury?
Simply put, too much running with not enough rest in-between. If you are like me and you believe that the more you run the farther you’ll go and push your limit every day you run to go just a little bit farther, or just a little bit faster. Then you will get shin splints.
Time to get a little technical, bear with me here.
Shin splints happen because of too much stress placed on the tibia. If your ankle cannot displace the forces generated by your body while running evenly throughout your foot, then the angle of the tibial plateau (bottom part of the knee) changes. In effect, this changes the firing pattern of the lower leg and causes some muscles to “go to sleep” and others to “pick up the slack” so that you can continue to run. When you keep that firing pattern for, let’s say 5 kilometers, the muscles that support the joints become over worked and over stressed because of the constant impact that is caused by your body. So, the result would be the micro tears of the tissue as the best-case scenario or a fracture of a foot bone as the worst-case scenario.
This is not the only reason why people get shin splints. Ortho Info explains that having flat feet or wearing the wrong pair of shoes can contribute to you getting this injury. Which completely makes sense, if you have ever tried to run in winter boots you will know what I am talking about. And the whole point of flat feet well just above I explained how changing the angle of the tibial plateau (bottom part of the knee) changes all the forces in the foot by changing the firing patterns can and will cause you to have shin splints.
OK so what can you do about it?
Well there are three simple tips that I am about to give you that I use to help stay away from this:
• Make sure you are working out your lower leg. This doesn’t mean that you are only doing calf raises at the gym. You need to be doing your toe boxes at least twice a week. The muscles that you activate when doing this movement helps keep your lower leg muscles nice and strong.
• Wear a proper running shoe. Go to your local running store and get assessed. While they may or may not do a good job in the assessment they will know what kind of shoe you will need to wear to support your foot. All running shoes have orthotics in them. So, you will not need to buy more orthotics and you can save your hard-earned money.
• Book yourself in for an assessment with us. Our unique assessment will find out which position your ankle can support load and if there is any range of motion discrepancies. So, we can prescribe the proper workout and proper position to put your joint so that it can get strong and you won’t have to worry about shin splints
There are a ton of other tips to take into heart here, like running on grass, or sand, or gravel rather than concrete or pavement, walking more rather than always running, and so on, but the biggest three would be the ones that that I listed above.