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Shin splints...how long??

I have had lower leg (shin) pain since last June. Had an MRI scan which was ok and seen a physio for exercises. Until recently was getting better. I bought new trainers and started to do a few very slow runs. But, gone back a step now. How long do they go on for? Was hoping to do my first Triathlon this year. [:@]


  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    It may seem silly but are you stretching them out before you run? I used to get shun splints and they can be painfull. I never get them now I have learnt to stretch them.
  • jacjac Posts: 452
    Stretching definitely helps.

    I've suffered from them in the past - mainly when I began upping my speed. They're a pain in the backside but can be sorted out.

    Firstly, when you say new shoes - did you have a gait analysis at a running shop before you bought them? This is crucial.

    Secondly, how often do you run? Shin splints and overtraining go hand-in-hand - in my bitter experience!

    Thirdly - tight calf muscles can often cause the pain. Include some dynamic stretches before your run and always warm-up. Stretching out your calf muscles - at the top and bottom - is key afterwards. I always use to stretch just the tops but if you bend the leg in the stretch you will hit the lower part of the calf.

    Another good stretch is to sit on a chair and bend one leg at 45 degrees behind you (so the top of your foot is pressing the floor) and hold for ten seconds. Switch legs and repeat five times.

    You could also look to get a massage - both on your calf muscles and your shins. The shin massage is painful but there could be scar tissue and knots which need breaking down.

    A good preventative move is to incorporate some toe raises into your week.

    In my experience it's best not to leave them - or continue to pound them.

    As long as you haven't got a fracture (which you can get if you keep running with them) then they should clear up quite quickly.

  • All good advic e so far,

    Shin splints is the adhesion of the soleus onto the shin bone (ithink it's the tibia) this is a long flat muscle that sits under the big ones you can see when you tense them you usually cant see the soleus..

    you need to see a physio, theres no other way round it but be prepared to be put through the mill, it hurts alot however the relief youu feel after makes it worth while, they'll need to peel the muscle off the bone then manipulate the muscle afterwards then use ultrasound to repair it afterwards.

    cut out the speed work and definataly no hill training untill they repair but to answer your question there is no time scale scale it all depends on you and your ability to reel yourself in on your running (not easy i know) but you must let them repair..

    its not the end of the world but i do feel sorry for you mate, shin splints are very painfull
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Have a look at your shoes. I was running in my £30 shoes from sports direct that I tried on with no help from the staff (not exactly renowned for their expertise in running) because they felt comfortable last year. A couple of months ago, I went and had a gait analysis at a specialist running shop and came out with my £80 shoes, but about a week in I started getting shin splints. I switched back to my old shoes, and after a few days off running, they were fine! Comparing my old and new shoes, I found the expensive ones were about twice the weight of my old ones, which I think was the cause.

    My physio said that are only 3 proper causes of shin splints: poor footwear, weak calves and poor biomechanics
  • i forgot to mention stretches, after a run or hot bath is the best time however 2-3 times a day, get someone to help, lie on your tummy point your foot to the ceiling so your lower leg is at 90 degrees then ask them to strech the lower calf by pressing the ball of your foot and toes to the floor whilst holding the heal of your foot with the other hand if they kneel whilst doing this they can use their sholder for leverage and really anchor it down this streach works the soleus and will hurt but it will help, but see aphysio first!!!!

  • ScibbyScibby Posts: 55
    This is another area that I don't think is fully resolved yet... shin splints may be caused by a number of issues in the calf area:

    - Soleus muscle as the previous poster described

    - Weak or short anterior tibialis - this is muscle on the front of the shin bone, that you use to bring toes up / in towards the body

    - Inflammation of the periosteum - this is a rubbery coating of the shin bone (any long bone in fact)

    - Tendonitis - micro tears in the attachment of the muscle to the shin bone...

    In terms of causes: overtraining and bad shoes are key as other posters have suggested.

    Problems with gait may be a factor - particularly overstriding. If you imagine when you're running that you over-reach the stride, and so land on the heel, at this point the front of calf muscles are fully contracted (short). Once you hit the ground, you propell off using the back calf muscles. This causes the front calf muscles to suddenly stretch and this rapid and repeated shortening / stretching under alot of force may be causing the damage.

    A long time ago, I used to do straight legged skipping (with or without rope) and I found it used to help. Basically just using the calf muscles to propell of the ground, with knees almost locked... Not sure what the scientific basis is - perhaps just getting the calf muscles to learn to flex / contract repeatedly and quickly under presure - but it used to help!

    Good luck and sorry for the wordiness of this post...
  • eamonneamonn Posts: 30
    You have my total sympathy.I had that for ages then bought a foam roller(just a big hard piece of foam in a cylinder shape) which you put the weight of your shins on and roll back and forward.You can find these along with various exercises online.

    A week of this completely cured the pain. However I since found out that it did not cure the underlying reason which was poor posture.I found this out after visiting a chiropractor with a sore back.

    I am now shinsplint free.

    A good exercise is raising your feet and drawing shapes with your toes.
  • Phil TPhil T Posts: 49
    As a podiatrist I see a lot of shin splints. It is tricky to treat without doubt. I'd agree with a lot of the advice on here but I'd lke to also mention about some extra cushioning in your running shoes. Good quality, correct, running shoes are a must but adding a bit more cushioning can really make a difference (i.e. sorbathane insoles etc there are lots out there). Makes sense really if you think of it due to the high impact of running. also consider the surface you run on. Avoid hard surfaces if possible (difficult I know) Is it both shins? If its just the one you could have a limb length difference meaning one limb is taking more of a pounding. This is something a physio will look at too. I just had a great success with a female triathlete who had longstanding shin splints. She was pronating heavily on one foot (usually the longer limb) and had custom rigid orthotics. Replaced the rigid ones with softs (adding more control to the pronating foot) and addressed the limb length on the shorter leg and it worked well. Everybody is different but just another angle to throw in...
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    As a seasoned veteran I would suggest spending some time and money and get yourself a good pair of running shoes with custom made inserts. Beware of the Up & Running gait analysis - its really just a chancer who runs (probably quite well) and watches a video of you running on a treadmill and states the bleedin obvious and then tells you to buy the Super Nikes or whatever
  • combatdwarfcombatdwarf Posts: 258
    I can sympathise as this is a problem that has plagued me for nearly two years following decompression surgery on my lower legs (look up compartment syndrome on the web...)

    Following the surgery I developed all sorts of issues, posterior tibialis pain and involment of the periosteum but whiat I found was as everyone else has mention good shoes = less pain. I am luckily one of those people who naturally forefoot runs and as such Newtons work really well for me - if you are not a heel runner try them as my shin pain vanished in about four weeks - quicker than months of physio I have had in the past....

    A word of caution though - it is not a good idea to then (just after sorting the s splints out) go out and do a military speed march carrying a large amount of weight - completed the march okay but shins now hurt like @#!? oh well a bit of rest and gentle running over the next couple of weeks and lots of ice....

  • Thanks for all your advice.

    Think it originally happened due to over training and poor shoes.

    Recently had a gait analysis and over pronated and got so new trainers (Mizunos or however its spelt!.)

    My physio didnt do anything other than advise on exercises.

    As far as I know both legs are the same length and both shins are a problem....but it has been nearly a year now and I really would like to do at least one Tri before Im past it!

    I have never done stretching exercises as I dont really know what is right or wrong...

  • ok sounds like you need a good physio then mate,

    always go to one thats recomended by athletes if you can, local running club will know one.
  • Terry, I thought I was seeing a good physio! He runs and does Tri's too!!
  • My physio didnt do anything other than advise on exercises

    this is the only reason i said get another, your no further forward than you was last year, and still unsure what streches work best for you, which particular type of shin splints youve got after the mri reveled nothing, he should be able to tell through manipulation, im no expert but ive had experience of it,
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