Category: Injuries

Dealing with Shin Splints

 

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.

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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:

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(source and how-to)

 

….applying anti-inflammatory gel 3x a day:

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This kind of thing can be bought from any supermarket, and is really great!

 

…shin strengthening exercises:

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(source and how-to)

 

…calf stretching (tight calf muscles can lead to shin splints, and apparently mine were ‘rock hard’…oops!)

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Don’t forget to hold stretches for 30 seconds to properly stretch the muscle!

 

…and finally, compression sleeves!

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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! Smile with tongue out

 

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!

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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!

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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! Smile

 

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…! Smile with tongue out

 

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask below or on my Formspring and I’ll be happy to help!

Injured…again?!

 

Yup, story of my LIFE! Aaaand guess what it is? My favourite injury…

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If you didn’t know, I struggled with shin splints for about 6 months earlier this year, and it caused me to have to take a total of 3 months fully off running and drop out of two half marathons. Not fun!

 

The irony is that it’s not ‘back’…it’s in the other leg now!new shin splints

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Now it’s on the inside right leg, which is common when you start running on the track a lot because that’s the leg you run the bends on.

 

The reason for it is simple, and to be honest I could almost see it coming. Some statistics say as many as a third of competitive runners develop shin splints around this time, because you return to the track (hard surface) and start speedwork again. And until recently, I hadn’t done any sprints, or trained on the track regularly, but my training has been ramped up in both these areas over the past few weeks.

 

I started noticing it on Thursday on the track session, and then it returned with a vengeance on Saturday at the race! It was hurting during the warm-up, and I told my coach that. He told me to run the race, but if it felt like it was getting worse, pull out.

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Can you spot me? I’m second from the right. My start was just as bad as usual, but this time because I was chatting to the girl behind me when the gun suddenly went off, no warning!

 

I was in a medal position when I pulled out. I was doing better than I have done so far in any race this year, and I was feeling strong. But my shin was not, and dropping out then was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. The whole rest of the day, I looked back and regretted it, wishing I’d pushed on to the end and hopefully left with a medal. But now, I definitely see that it was the best thing to do, even though at the time I was crying like a baby! Smile with tongue out

 

The interesting thing was that when I went to the first aid tent, the physio on hand said I did not have shin splints, but that I’d strained my gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (calf muscles):

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But when I went to my physio yesterday for a sports massage (which, by the way, is the most painful thing EVER!), she confirmed that it was shin splints. So if in doubt about your injury, get a second opinion! Apparently my calf muscles were so tight because I haven’t been holding my stretches for long enough (it has to be at least 30 seconds to be effective), which is why it was misdiagnosed.

 

Anyway, the bottom line is that I have mild shin splints in the other leg, and I can still train through it at the moment as long as I am careful not to make it worse, and am diligent with my stretching+strengthening exercises. So at the moment, I’m trying not to overthink it and just being sensible with prioritising recovery and listening to my body as much as possible Smile

 

Well nothing cheers me up like Christmas! I spent the rest of the weekend putting up the Christmas decorations with my family. Tree assembling in action…

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We use an artificial tree because my dog doesn’t get along with pine needles. Or Santa hats for that matter…

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He was not happy about that! Smile with tongue out

 

I am in charge of decorations on the tree, which is why there is one on almost every branch, and why 90% of them are candy canes.

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You should’ve seen the year I was in charge of tinsel. Rainbow sparkly tinsel covered every branch. My momma practically had a heart attack when she saw it haha!

 

Trust me, all of them will be gone by next week Winking smile

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I’m making my favourite gingerbread cookies to go on the tree tomorrow! It’s one of my favourite traditions Smile

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with a What I Ate Wednesday!

 

What’s the worst injury you’ve ever suffered? Shin splints. 3 months off running in total, and they still came and went repeatedly! But this time it’s pretty mild at the moment, and I’m determined not to let it get any worse!

 

When do you put your Christmas decorations up? Ours go up in the first weekend of December.

 

What is your favourite Christmas tradition? Oh man, I’ve got so many! When I was younger, my brother and I had a tradition of formulating a plan to catch Santa, but every year we’d end up falling asleep instead! Smile with tongue out

 

I hope you’re having a great week friends! <3

 

P.S. Thank you SO MUCH for all the amazing feedback on my binge eating post! Your comments and emails mean so much to me!