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Shinsplints be damned!!!

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  • Shinsplints be damned!!!

    With the exception of about 1.5 years back in college (~15 years ago) I have struggled with shin splints. I've had x-rays, done a high-speed film gait analysis, etc and I basically get classic MTSS on the inside lower-part of my legs because I pronate and have a slight twist due to hip flexibility (land outside heel first and rotate pinky toe and then in). Got shoes specifically designed for my exact issue but still did not do any kind of volume due to avoidance of the pain opting instead for swimming, biking, elliptical. That was then...

    When I discovered the PB and started sprinting in Vibrams they did not seem to be an issue. I even did a few 5k's in the VFFs with no problems. Recently, I did a two-week Bootcamp and was required to wear conventional shoes. By the end of the third day I was in pain again...same shoes, same spot. Max we ran was about 5k and then a good amount of plyometric stuff...anyhow, more volume than I had/have done in a while.

    Not looking to go rediculous with running but would like to start doing a bit to train for a Sprint Tri in April. I got a pair of Nike Free shoes for Christmas as well as one of those heel/calf stretcher things and have added some BB calf-raises to my LHT routine. I'm hoping that helps. Did some intervals on a treadmill the other day with the Free's and my legs felt ok after.

    I know the obvious answer is the shoes, but in all fairness I've never done just sprints in my conventional shoes or just distance in VFFs so it's hard to make that a clear answer IMO. Was hoping for some guidance from anyone who has "beat" shinsplints. They are the one thing that actually seems to hold me back. HELP!?!?!?!?!
    Last edited by Charlie Golf; 01-03-2011, 01:20 PM. 1st time buyer $5 discount code: GIS836

  • #2
    you could always try switching to a fore/mid foot strike in your normal shoes if you don't want to do distance runs in VFFs. You said it's the rolling from heel to pinky to big toe that gives you problems, if you eliminate the heel strike and land flat on the ball of your foot it could solve your problem. I know my knees like me more without the heel strike. I never heel strike when i'm running in sports, now i've just eliminated it from my running in general
    I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

    Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe


    • #3
      I just did about 3 miles this AM in the Free's...all systems good so far. Very similar response to when I first started sprinting in my KSOs. I've got my fingers crossed...We'll see. 1st time buyer $5 discount code: GIS836


      • #4
        i suffered with shin splints for a long time. and found the problem for me was a muscle imbalance, basically very strong calves but weak in the front of my lower leg ( i forget the name of this muscle). I strengthened this muscle considerable to the point i can actually flex my shin muscles, and NO MORE shin splints. The fix was to build a DARD contraption from stuff you can find at home depot, and just do simple exercises while sitting in front of the TV. check it out, and good luck:


        • #5
          I'm hardly an athlete, so this may not apply. However, I got some good advice from a trainer and seem to have left a life-long shinsplint problem behind.

          1. True shin splints are an injury--if they happen, RICE. You will have pain until it heals.
          2. Consciously shorten stride. This especially applies to the underfit (not you for this reason, at least, but...), as sometimes unconsciously exertion (longer than natural stride) equals exercise, and when underfit people exercise they unconsciously overexert instead of move naturally.

          Worked for me. But who knows.

          They really were the bane of my exercising existence, from high school (relatively fit) on (progressively not so).


          • #6
            Thanks for the input guys. The DARD contraption looks intriguing. I may have to make a Home Depot run. I think it is definitely a muscular and flexibility issue. BTW, the foot strike I mentioned above in the gait analysis was wearing conventional running shoes and was a while back. My foot strike is definitely different in "barefoot" shoes.
   1st time buyer $5 discount code: GIS836


            • #7
              I used to get horrible shinsplints in college to the point I couldn't walk to class. I haven't experienced them as much recently, but during my run this morning (in VFFs) I was thinking about how all the normal pains I used to feel in shoes do not seem to exist in VFFs. I think I remember reading when your stride is too long, you pull with the muscle in your shin and it pulls away from the bone. Maybe a shorter stride (as mentioned above).


              • #8
                I had shin splints from when I was about 19 to 22 after going through the police academy and all that running. Someone one day pointed out it was a calcium issue and to take calcium ascorbate supplements to cure it.

                I did and it was gone within two weeks. No kidding here either.


                • #9
                  I was just thinking about this on my run on Sunday. I used to get shin splints all the time. Any run over a few miles, and I would be in pain.

                  In the last couple of years, I have gone away from heel striking, and started running correctly. That pain has completely gone away. I am training for my first marathon in March, and really happy I don't have to worry about shin splints.
                  Merry Spinmas!!!


                  • #10
                    Over the summer while training for a triathlon, I was running 20-25 miles a week. About a month in, the shin splints were unbearable, until I did a couple of things...

                    1. Work on landing more on the ball of your foot and pushing off with your toes on every single stride. Shortening your stride does help, especially in conjunction with the feeling of almost jumping every stride. Less stress on your shins... See 3.
                    2. Keep running. Long (~6 mi.) runs started out bad, but after 3 miles, the pain would all but disappear. Sometimes your muscles just need to warm up and work out the kinks.
                    3. Strengthen your calves. Do about three sets of ten on each leg. This helps with 1 and will again help reduce impact on your shins. An avid runner also told me that putting a towel on the ground and scrunching it up with your toes helps too.
                    4. Stretch!! Downward dog, any calf stretch... And write the ABC's in the air with your toes, exaggerating the letters. Do it a couple times a day, and the pain will go away.
                    5. And ya can't beat rest and ice. Frozen dixie cups are a blessing to roll on the area after and run.

                    Good luck!! Hope you can beat em'!!


                    • #11
                      Stretch your calves out really good. You need to stretch both the gastroc and the soleus. The soleus does not cross the knee joint, so you hit it by doing a normal calf stretch but then bend your knee and push it towards the ground. The soleus is a common culprit with shin splints as it can get tight and pull on its attachment on the tibia causing pain.


                      • #12
                        I know when i had them i would stretch the calf muscle alot during the day and gradually they were less frequent. Then i stopped stretching completely and i they have never come back. When i am running on a hilly course sometimes i will stop for 30 secs and give them a quick stretch if a feel my calves getting tight. But most days i dont stretch at all and run injury free
                        It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.
                        Henry Ward Beecher


                        • #13
                          Hey guys thanks for the advice! I'm having some trouble with them right now too, and even though they are more annoying than anything else (for me...I've seen people have them so terrible they can barely walk UGH) it's still good to minimize them!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Charlie Golf View Post
                            I know the obvious answer is the shoes, but in all fairness I've never done just sprints in my conventional shoes or just distance in VFFs so it's hard to make that a clear answer IMO. Was hoping for some guidance from anyone who has "beat" shinsplints. They are the one thing that actually seems to hold me back. HELP!?!?!?!?!
                            Check out this book, I think it might help. Certainly helped me. I had knee and Achilles pain:


                            Best thing is, treatment is free and you can do it wherever, whenever.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Charlie Golf View Post
                              Was hoping for some guidance from anyone who has "beat" shinsplints. They are the one thing that actually seems to hold me back. HELP!?!?!?!?!
                              As I said...I beat shinsplints. Take calcium ascorbate and it goes away.