run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Shins

I've been plagued by shin splints off and on for the past year. If you've ever had them, then you know just how much they suck. They are sneaky little bastards, they really are. One day you feel just fine and dandy and the next day you can hardly take a step without splitting pains in your shins. The following is historical account of my shin splints:

Day 1- Ouch. My shins are really aching. I wonder what's up. Do I have shin splints?
Day 2- Ouch. My shins still really hurt, but its a dull sort of ache...maybe I can just run through it. Yep, I'm just going to run through it. I'm tough. I can take it.
Day 3- Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. The dull pain is no longer dull. Now the pain feels like little knives stabbing my shins every time my foot hits the ground.
Day 4- Ouch. It hurts to walk. This sucks. I guess I'll have to take a few days off from running.
Day 5-Break
Day 6- Break
Day 7- Break
Day 8- Hmmm...My shins are still aching, but only just a little. I think I can run through it. I'm tough. I can take it.

And basically that's it. Throughout this vicious cycle, I also tried all the other stuff like icing, ibuprofen, stretching, strength training exercises for the calves and shin areas, and rest periods for much longer than 3 days. But alas, nothing seemed to work.

Finally, I decided that it was time to up the exercises. I also got new shoes and I've been trying my best to stay off the concrete and asphalt if at all possible. And guess what? I think that maybe, just maybe, all of that is starting to pay off!! I experienced some pain during a 5k on Saturday morning, but an easy run after the race, a second race on Sunday (race reports to come) and this morning's run went great! No pain at all! It was awesome. I just hope it continues.

Last week, I made an appointment for this morning with my doctor to have some x-rays made. I wanted to be sure I didn't have hairline fractures in my shins...and I don't. So that is super good news and I'm pumped!

Something else I'm looking into are calf compression sleeves. Has anyone used these? Do they work? I'm going to take every step possible to prevent because hard-core April training mode is just around the corner!

6 comments: said...

I've been cursed with the same pains, and I've found ice baths to be really helpful. I've also tried massaging my shins with an ice pack. I just purchased a pair of McDavid leg compression sleeves ($10 each at Academy Sports). I haven't run in them yet, but just wearing them around the house has lessened those pesky pains. The biggest downside is that I can see them getting really hot. Good luck!

J said...

You just might need to strengthen your shin muscles or get inserts for your shoes. If you have flat feet then inserts may help but it just depends.

StangLuvr said...

I had a pair of compression socks that I 1st rain the TK 1/2 in. I loved them. Took care of my shin splints nicely. Bad thing is, I paid $50 for them and then lost them this June in Florida on vacation. I have no idea where they went. And to beat all, I didn't even run while on vacation after taking everything with me to run 4 out of the 8 days. I SUCK!!!!

Vandy-Montana said...

I was plagued by shin splints about a year ago and had to take almost a month off. Then my college roommate gave me an exercise to do that he learned in high school XC, and TADA, it worked. Let's see if I can explain it.

It's basically a toe tapping exercise, but instead of tapping your toes in front of you, you brace yourself against a wall and make sure you are tapping your foot directly below your center of gravity. You should feel it in front of your leg. It should be hard to do after a few seconds. Do each leg for 45-60 sec. before heading out. Works for me. I still do it before I head out.

Spike said...

yep, shin pains are tricky like that. You don't want to stop, and when they first arrive you can ignore them like a laundry pile. sadly the fix isn't as easy as one night. noooooo, you have to take it easy and run on clouds and do extra exercise. wow do I really hate those suckers.

johnking said...

i use calf compression sleeves and they, along with new shoes have helped my shin splints ttremendously. try running on grass and also, switching up the side of the road you run on. Sleeves are gonna cost you about 50-60 bucks.