Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sore shins? Shins splints? What it is... what to do

A question from our valued client Katia aka Little One..
What do you know about shin splints??

I seem to get them regularly - I did a booty camp session with Julies where we did olympic long jumps and jump squats and all that kinda stuff on the netball courts and i had the shin splints for 3 weeks after was crazy.... I would prefer to train bare foot but jumping like that on bitumen would you think I should ask Julies if I can train on grass or is it my shoes?

Shin splints are a really poorly diagnosed term.  They usually apply to runners who average 40 kilometres of running per week (through inflammation and minuscule tearing from repetitious foot strikes).   

Another reason why I think endurance sports have a limited shelf life....

Shin splints and resulting fractures and compartment syndrome are also attributed to muscle imbalance, over-pronated feet and flat feet.

Did you know that shin splints are more likely to occur in women than in men?  

What your describing sounds like muscular soreness in the shins, which could lead to 'shin splints' without a little bit of tweaking...

To build muscle you have to tear it (which always causes pain, otherwise you are taking some excellent mild altering drugs), but you also have to stretch it so it doesn’t contract (which is the pain you may be feeling).   You would need some good stretching, massage and heat lotion.  

Now onto shoes - everybody is talking about bare foot running as the new orthodic.  The reasoning is simple - if you want to walk upright, stop leaning on a walking frame.  If you want to develop proper musculature of the feet, legs and buttocks stop relying on shoes that someone else sold to you.  NOW when you first run bare foot it going to hurt - not just your soft little work deprived feet, but also your shins.  Because you are developing muscle that has been wasting away in your $200 running shoes.  So you have to start slowing and in short bursts.  And consider buying 5 finger toe shoes (Vibram companies EMAIL me if you have a good offer for my clients.... mmmmmm).

And walk at least 30 minutes a day.  Religiously (even if your 120, giving birth and dying of cancer).  Otherwise you muscles are atrophying (contracting and dying – which causes pain).  Walking is the best way to move along lactic acid (which causes pain) and increases blood flow (which promotes healing).  On a side line it is the cheapest way to treat constipation and gas.  How do I always get to that?

Muscle soreness is not something to avoid.  Jules and I are in pain most days...  (well me more than Jules).  I am usually a bit happy if I have soreness because it means I have done something right, and I am building muscle.   I just know that I have to do my homework (stretch, heat lotion, magnesium) so that I can front up the following day and do it all again without complaining too much.

The importance of magnesium in training is highlighted in this fantastic article I found online.

 I can't live without this aloe heat lotion for muscle soreness.  

Aloe is a natural anti -inflammatory -  prolonged use of over the counter anti-inflammatories have recently hit the headlines as causing stroke.

 We sell it as Sweat Depot or you can always email me to order.

If you want more info on treating injuries and chronic pain click here...

A message from our resident family Doctor Sharon: 


as we know, shin splints (correct in poorly used term) is a vague description of mid shin pain, more often medial (inner side) of tibia, where the bone meets the bulky calf muscle.

Shin splints (correct term tibial periostitis) develops after repetitive muscle contractions, often due to "loading" the bone by jumping or landing heavily. Running and all other forms of weight bearing training, have been linked to the development of shin splints. That means that if you pretend to ski on one of those eliptical trainers or something like that, you'll never actually load your bone. If you jump (olympic long jump or jump squats) a little bit, your bones will appreciate it. If you jump excessively, or do TOO MUCH TOO SOON for your muscles to acclimatise to that form of training, you will overload the bone at the site where that main muscle originates.

Shoes - yes, if you were wearing dunlop volleys, you'd get them sooner than top notch asics trainers, but ultimately, it's the form of exercise that marks this problem.
Barefooted jumping would cause even more bone loading, probably ensuring tibial pain sooner.

To settle shin splints, everything you have said works - new footwear, stretching +++, heat packs and rubs/linament etc. The most important thing is to rest from the aggrevating activity - NOT from all activity. SO - jumps would be minimised, but kicks, squats, core work, upper limbs - no problem.

Just a quick reply whilst I sit at my desk and think.....

(If you want to get details of Sharon's Stafford practice and hours click here to email...)

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