Shin splints

Discussion in 'Common Training Injuries' started by VoodooChild, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. VoodooChild

    VoodooChild New Member

    Jun 12, 2016
    App Stage:
    Passed PJFT
    If any of you have or have had shin splints, you know how absolutely shite they are.
    I'm going to share my experience here and if it helps some of you avoid them or recover then that's a win.
    I'm not a doctor by the way, so if you do what I did and your head falls off or something, don't sue me please.
    I first had shin splints in November 2015. I had just started running again after about 2 years off.
    I have always been about endurance and ran regularly in my early teens.
    I put on about 20kg of muscle at college, by weight training and avoiding the track.
    A combination of the weight gain and running in flat-soled shoes on the pavement was a recipe for a shin-splint-disaster.
    Honestly it was a 10minute mistake that cost me nearly 8months of pain and misery.
    So here's... TIP NO. 1:

    Don't run in Converses. Don't be a total tit.
    I was running with my dog, on a lead on the pavement. She is crap at running with the lead, always running in front. Which I knew. This meant I was landing on my heals wearing shoes with no cushioning. So no shock absorption. It took about 8minutes and I had shin splints.
    Get some decent trainers, with cushioned soles. You can't buy new legs so don't be tight on trainers. I now wear Asics trainers with gel soles and they are excellent for £60-£80.

    TIP NO. 2:

    FFS don't try and "run off" shin splints. That's what I did and it only made them worse.
    Pull back and see a sports physio/GP.
    As hard as it is - especially when you have PJFT deadlines coming up - don't make it worse. You might end up in snap city with a broken tibia.
    Keep your fitness up with low impact cardio, such as swimming, cycling or rowing.

    TIP NO. 3:

    See a professional. You won't find a pediatrist on the NHS unfortunately, but it's worth the cash if you can find one. I had my running technique tested and was given some helpful tips and exercises. They will also be able to rule out anything more serious that you may have missed.
    Look out for snakes.
    Try not to fall into traps with private healthcare. I ended up spending way way too much money on potentially B.S treatment (think acupuncture). I can't say for sure if it worked. When they charge £60 a go and expect you to come back every week, you want to be sure it does.
    Go to a specialised sports physio - not one that mostly deals with old people falling over - and you're probably going to get better advice.

    TIP NO.4:

    Yes actually learn. Look up running cadence* and learn about pronation and body position. You'll probably realise how crap your running style is and wonder how you didn't get shin splints sooner.
    * Cadence - how many steps you take in a minute. Too slow and you're probably landing on your heels and hitting the ground harder. Try and take 80-90 steps/minute per leg. Choose songs with a fast tempo (160+bpm) when running.

    TIP NO.5

    - (once you have seen the foot doctor, been given the all clear and learnt how to run properly).
    I started by running on a treadmill at 2% gradient (like the PJFT) at low speeds.
    I would run at a pace I could maintain without feeling my shins playing up. As soon as I felt them returning I would stop.
    Firstly I just focused on reaching 4.8km then on pace.
    I increased the intensity by no more than 5-10% a week, to avoid triggering my shins.

    Alongside swimming/cycling etc. it took about 6months for my shinsplints to completely dissipate.

    I did wear orthotic insoles in my shoes at the start to correct my gait, however no longer.
    These bastard inserts gave me huge grief with my medical, as I was pronounced as medically unfit for wearing prescription orthotics - apparently off the shelf ones are fine. I successfully appealed, but it took 3months of waiting - leaving me perilously close to last few POCs of the year.

    Don't despair,
    I went from not being able to run 10ft without horrendous pain to being able to run 10km nonstop without a hiccup.
    A year and a bit later and my return PJFT 2.4km is 8:45min.

    Good luck
    • Like Like x 3
  2. ronic

    ronic New Member

    Feb 17, 2017
    App Stage:
    Not Applied Yet
    That's currently what I'm worrying about with my medical, I was prescribed orthotics... What did the medical doctor say about them and how did you go about appealing this mate?
  3. Ashyy

    Ashyy Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    App Stage:
    Flexibility and immobilization is a huge factor and is forgotten a lot.

    Usually the problem isn't the shin themselves more up stream or down stream of the problem for example tight quads and little ankle mobilization.

    I bought a book called 'becoming a supple leopard' (pretty expensive but worth it). Its written by Kelly Starrett and he works with professional athletes. It shows you 100s of exercises for pains and aches and how to resolve them.

    I'd 100% look into it and 100% look into buying a foam roller. Helped me a lot. Better to prevent an injury than wait for one to happen then look at treating it.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Oct 23, 2008
    Should you use the ‘Search ‘function?

    So what are shin splints?

    Shin splints is actually a bit of a misnomer and should really be referred to as "exercise-induced leg pain", as I will explain. The most common type of exercise-induced leg pain is medial tibial (shin bone) stress syndrome (MTSS) which doesn't exactly role off the tongue, but is a more accurate term. The other two main types are a stress fracture or compartment syndrome.

    MTSS occurs when the muscle that inserts just behind the shin starts to pull away from the bone. There is a sheath around the bone called the periosteum, and this can get inflamed as a result of the pulling away, and cause pain. If this inflammation of the periosteum persists, because someone continues to run without attempting to treat it, then it may go on to cause a stress fracture. A stress fracture is not like a traumatic fracture that occurs suddenly. It is a continuum. So it may start with a worsening of the inflammation around the periosteum, and then slowly go into the bone itself.

    The good thing about this is if it is caught early enough, it is possible to prevent a full-blown stress fracture. And this is definitely something you want, because a stress fracture can mean being put in a boot and no running for around 12 weeks.

    Compartment syndrome literally means that the different muscles that make up the calf – which are split into compartments – get too big for the muscle sheath they are in and can cause quite severe pressure pain.

    What causes it?

    All three types of exercise-induced leg pain come under the category of "overuse injuries" (which are the most common types of running injury) as opposed to trauma. Biomechanics (how our movement is controlled in relation to our joints and muscles), training or the environment (running surface and footwear), or a combination of all these, can make someone vulnerable to developing an overuse injury.

    MTSS results from a repetitive overload and the pelvis, and all the joints from the hip down to the foot may potentially contribute to the onset of symptoms.

    One of the most common causes of MTSS is excessive or poorly controlled pronation (flattening of the foot). Pronation is a normal movement that occurs in the foot to help with shock absorption. Efficiency during running relies on achieving the right amount of pronation and supination. Things like fatigue, tight calves and gluteal (bottom muscle) activation can have an effect on the control of the foot as it hits the floor. Footwear and the surface that you are running on are also important factors.

    Most patients that come in with MTSS describe an increase in their training volume/intensity or new footwear leading up to their symptoms. As a stress fracture can occur with untreated MTSS, many of the causes are the same.

    Compartment syndrome is often related to a sudden change in training or load and can also occur with tight calves. The pain from compartment syndrome is not something you can run through and patients will describe their calves as feeling hard, and a sense of pressure building up in them.

    How do I treat it?

    There are effectively three different types of exercise-induced leg pain, and each has quite different treatment.

    MTSS, which is probably the most common, would involve:

    • Correct training errors – this may relate to volume/intensity or lack of recovery

    • Checking footwear is appropriate

    • Correcting biomechanical problems – the pelvis and all of the joints in the leg have the potential to contribute to MTSS and each patient will present slightly differently and will need to be thoroughly examined.

    Some patients may need to be referred to a podiatrist. Correcting timing and control issues with certain muscles groups, and restoring appropriate flexibility to the joints and muscles of the lower limb may also be part of the treatment.

    Clearly because exercise-induced leg pain is a type of overuse injury, there is usually some need to temporarily alter training. With the right treatment, your time away from running will be kept to a minimum and you will be advised to cross-train to maintain as much of your fitness as possible. We want to get you back running as soon as possible!

    Being injured is always tough, but with the correct treatment you will learn more about yourself and what type of training is best for you. Shin splints isn't a good term because it is too simplistic, and does not convey the serious problems that lurk behind it.

    • Rebecca Christenson is a physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine. To get in touch, please visit or follow her on @rebchristenson

    May I also suggest reading the linked thread as regards post by @The guide
  5. Cannotwait

    Cannotwait New Member

    Oct 11, 2016
    Could you tell me.. is weighting train ing ok ? Training legs I mean..?
  6. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Oct 23, 2008
    Your legs already carry a variable weight.;)

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