Dealing with Shin Splints
|December 19, 2011||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Injuries, Review|
Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! I definitely did, but I’ll do a proper post with a little recap later! And it’s less than a week till Christmas now aaah!!
A post about shin splints is currently my most requested post, so I’m more than happy to oblige! Since February, I have seen five different physios about my shin problems, had two MRIs, one bone scan and three different diagnoses, one of which was completely wrong! No calf strain here! Anyway, all this has meant that I have become pretty experienced in handling shin problems. Still, please bear in mind that I am not qualified to give medical advice but that these are all things that I have been told by my physiotherapist.
So what are shin splints? It is the second most common running injury after Runner’s Knee. Shin splints are just a general name for a number of shin problems- anything from stress fractures and compartment syndrome to the less severe tibial stress syndrome, which is what shin splints generally is. You can read more about shin splints treatment/prevention/causes etc here.
The best treatment for shin splints is simply to not run until all pain fully subsides (usually around 2 weeks) and then slowly get back into it. I have the permission from my current physio to run at the moment, but with reduced volume, and to be very careful about it!
So, I’m treating my shin splints by…
…ice massaging my shins every day:
….applying anti-inflammatory gel 3x a day:
This kind of thing can be bought from any supermarket, and is really great!
…shin strengthening exercises:
…calf stretching (tight calf muscles can lead to shin splints, and apparently mine were ‘rock hard’…oops!)
Don’t forget to hold stretches for 30 seconds to properly stretch the muscle!
…and finally, compression sleeves!
The company 2XU kindly sent me some calf compression guards to try out. My physio also recommends them for shin splints, saying that wearing them whilst running reduces the friction between the muscle and the bone…? Okay, I can’t remember exactly what she said about it, but it was along those lines!
They are extremely comfortable, and much more lightweight than I imagined! I think I was half expecting some sort of legwarmer, but they’re pretty thin, which will make them suitable for summer running too!
The only thing I would say is that with compression gear, you definitely need to make sure you measure your calf width and then check that against the size guide before buying! Compression gear obviously have a pretty snug fit, and you wouldn’t want them to be too tight or too loose!
I’ve been wearing them on every run recently (even under tights!) and they are so comfortable! They are also helping to reduce the calf soreness that has been accompanying my change in running form, which I am really thankful for! Plus, no shin pain whilst running in them!
I’ve also been wearing Nike’s compression socks a lot, but I find these more beneficial. I’m thinking of investing in some compression tights too! Yup, it’s official- I’m a compression convert!
Have you ever had to deal with shin splints, or a similar running injury? Shin splints are a real pain, but I think the trick is to catch it early, RICE, and strengthen those shin muscles!
Do you use any compression stuff? Compression socks and calf sleeves now! Love them, and I definitely notice a palpable difference in my muscle recovery when I wear them compared with when I don’t.
Are you good at stretching? Yes I am pretty good at stretching properly now! Still need to work on doing regular core work though…!
And if you have any questions, feel free to ask below or on my Formspring and I’ll be happy to help!