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Shin Splint Cure

I recently started running to get more endurance for physicals. I have been improving a lot but have recently developed shin splints. I have been running through the pain but I am afaid of permenet damage. My question is can I mess myself up doing this or is there any type of cure?
Face your fears, Live your dreams

Start with new shoes with a better arch support. Go to a good running store and get fitted. If you already did that, maybe you need higher arches in your new shoes. I have used the $12 full foot soft arch supports from spenco, and put them in under your regular shoe inserts.
Start doing ice massage: about 5 minutes each shin 3-4 times per day. Use up 3-4 ice cubes, and rub from the top of your ankle up to your knee, on the side of the shin that's more painful- it should be the medial side . If it's the lateral side, then you may have anterior compartment syndrome, but this stuff will probably still work for you anyway. Do the massage until it's good and numb. Wait 3-4 hours befoe you do it again. The more the better, but stick to the times mentioned above.
Do 100 toe taps (like you are impatiently waiting) on each foot before you run. Maybe even more once you get used to it- up to 200. I find the more I do this the better also, once I get used to it.

Lots of times, this injury is from too much dorsiflexion at the ankle- over using the anterior tibialis and posterior tibialis. Try concentrating on lifting from the hip on your swing through phase when running, then you won't have to lift your toes.

Run only on a dirt track or trail to lesson the pounding. I always find that these above things will allow me to train though shin splints. If it does not go away over the next 2 weeks having done all of this, write me back! I have treated this dozens of times, and most of what you need done you can do yourself.
After about 2 weeks, this should feel better. Write me back, and I'll give you a strengthening exercise!

Also, I think sprint intervals are more effective for what you are trying to train for than running slower and distance. I know you didn't ask that, but sprinting doesn't usually cause this type of injury!

Is that what you were looking for?

Dr. Jen Milus, DC
Author of Fire it Up CPAT Training System
This message was edited by DrJen on 10-20-05 @ 3:13 PM


Just to let you know, one of my academy instructors mentioned that one of the candidates had severe shin splints and ran through it despite the pain. After a couple of days they made this candidate go to the doctor to have it checked out. Well, this candidate ended up with fractures (I forgot if it was both legs or one and can't remeber which bone). Anyway, after hearing this story I started doing toe taps. DrJen mentions these same toe taps and other great interventions.

"If it's the lateral side, then you may have anterior compartment syndrome, but this stuff will probably still work for you anyway."

I get pain in my shins on the lateral side... more specifically the muscle just lateral to the tibia feels sore for a couple days after i run... i dont' get any tingling in the webs of my feet. If i run on a treadmill, i usually dont get it, but running on any other surface will cause it. could this be compartment syndrome?

First: yes, people who let shin splints go on too long can end up with even compound fractures! That's why I said if it doesn't work.... then write back. These "splints" are where the muscle actually tears it's insertion away from the bone. It actually can, in very late stages, tear away the periosteum, and result in micro fractures which turn into MACRO fractures (not a real word... ) !!! Your tibia is the weight bearing bone, and if it goes, the fibula cannot bear the weight, and it goes too! Very ugly!!
There is even more that can be done by someone like me, but not over the internet. (Taping/bracing/ultrasound/cross friction work)

Yes, as a general rule, shin splints are on the medial side. It involves the tibialis posterior. It happens to more pronators because of the roll inward of the foot before toe off. The above can happen if it is not taken care of! Get on it!

Second, anterior compartment syndrome starts on the lateral side of the tibia. It usually doesn't tear at the periosteum and cause a fracture. BUT: the whole compartment can swell, and cause it to pop the sheath that encircles the muscles of the anterior compartment! Ouch! You'll notice the swelling if it gets to that point. And the pain is bad enough that I cannot imagine anyone running through it!

The good news is, it usually responds to the same types of care that I mentioned in the other posting, but applied on the leteral side of the shin bone!
The part about lifting from the hip is especially helpful with this injury.

Remember, though, sprint intervals, and stairs with weights is more effective for you guys/gals than running distance. Bike distance if you are prone to this type of thing!

Best wishes.

Dr. Jen Milus, DC
Author of Fire it Up CPAT Training System
This message was edited by DrJen on 10-20-05 @ 6:26 PM

Thank you both so much for your help.
Face your fears, Live your dreams

Give up running. Purchase a good 27 speed mountain bike, speedo computer and helmet. Start climbing hills. I have improved my cardio and leg strength 150% over running and with no pain (unless I fall). Running is so high impact, even with great shoes! I will challenge anyone on this because I ran for years and suffered from shin splints etc. You have to climb, not just ride streets!
There is no CRYING in firefighting!!!!

CHATA has a point about cycling. Barring taking a tree at 40, it's a lot better for your joints! As a matter of fact, if you are unwilling to give up running entirely, consider this: Medial quad weakness is a large contributor to muscular imbalance in the knee leading to chronic knee problems... directly(chondromalacia patella) and indirectly(MCL/LCL/ACL/Meniscus).

There are very few ways to train your medial quad. One is by doing leg extensions in the last 15 degrees of extension... which is tough because it risks forcing the joint into hyperextension if your technique is not PERFECT. The other is the bike!It helps work the medial quad sfaely, and can balance out any imbalance caused by running. And, most notably, can wear away any imperfections in the posterior apsect of the patella as well as stimulate the metabolism (speed of healing) within the knee joint!
Yep, biking is great!
Dr. Jen Milus, DC
Author of Fire it Up CPAT Training System