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Brand new runner w/ very painful shin splints (Read 1509 times)

    I'm working on getting DH to start on the Couch to 5k program and he keeps getting crazy pains on the inside of his shins after just doing a run/walk combo for about 30 minutes. He is 6ft and weighs roughly 225 lbs and is wearing a neutral Puma shoe. I'm trying to get him to use a roller on his calf muscles and have talked to him about heel striking. He won't let me go with him to watch his form but he says he is trying to land on his forefoot now but the pain is still really bad. He has tried to run a few times before and his shins always make him stop (even back in high school). Any things that I should be telling him to try to troubleshoot?

    I don't half-ass anything

     

    "I have several close friends who have run marathons, a word that is actually derived from two Swahili words: mara, which means 'to die a horrible death' and thon, which means 'for a stupid T-shirt.' Look it up." - Celia Rivenbark, You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning

     

    sport jester


    Biomimeticist

      The cause is easy; too much forward lean in his form, and shoes too stiff to allow the foot to flex. Biologically its based upon the shape of his Talus bone, which the Tibia and Fibula attach.

      Experts said the world is flat

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      Name me one of those "experts"...

       

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      TimButterfield


        I'm working on getting DH to start on the Couch to 5k program and he keeps getting crazy pains on the inside of his shins after just doing a run/walk combo for about 30 minutes. He is 6ft and weighs roughly 225 lbs and is wearing a neutral Puma shoe. I'm trying to get him to use a roller on his calf muscles and have talked to him about heel striking. He won't let me go with him to watch his form but he says he is trying to land on his forefoot now but the pain is still really bad. He has tried to run a few times before and his shins always make him stop (even back in high school). Any things that I should be telling him to try to troubleshoot?

         

        You mention he is trying to land on his forefoot.  Is he succeeding in that or is he still landing on his heels?  Any raised heel in the shoe could encourage landing on the heel even if the difference is only 5mm or so.  One easy test you could have him do is this.  When he comes back from a run, have him remove his shoes and run barefoot across the house a few times.  He can then feel where he is actually landing on the foot and see if landing on the forefoot still contributes to the shin pain.  Another tip is to have him keep the knees bent on landing.  That will help move the foot back towards his center of gravity when it lands and help him to land more mid-foot/forefoot, provided the shoe lets him do that.

          1) He may have to do even less running for a little while and more walking.

          2) Get that dude on some soft surfaces.

          3) Work on calf flexibility.

          4) Stay at it. Shin splints come and shin splints then go; it's a rite of passage. Once you get over your first case of shin splints, they don't seem to come back.

          5) Dude's big and heavy. His lower legs will take time to adjust. Some things are gonna have to get stronger over time. Stay at it.

          6) Fiddling with footstrike seems at best to be a waste of time, at worse a contributing factor. 

          7) Can he get on the elliptical some days?

          8) Eat some vitamin I and stay at it.


          Closed for repairs

            I more or less started at 6'1 225.  It will probably hurt until he drops some weight.  Jeff's stuff is right on.  Others will disagree but he may need some more stability than neutral in his shoes, at least until his body adapts a bit. 

             

            Another proponent of not messing with his form.

             

              I've heard that downhill running can cause shin splints.  So in addition to all the above (Except leaning back or not "forward lean" like SJ suggests), maybe avoid running hard down hill until it goes away.

                I'm working on getting DH to start on the Couch to 5k program and he keeps getting crazy pains on the inside of his shins after just doing a run/walk combo for about 30 minutes. He is 6ft and weighs roughly 225 lbs and is wearing a neutral Puma shoe. I'm trying to get him to use a roller on his calf muscles and have talked to him about heel striking. He won't let me go with him to watch his form but he says he is trying to land on his forefoot now but the pain is still really bad. He has tried to run a few times before and his shins always make him stop (even back in high school). Any things that I should be telling him to try to troubleshoot?

                Video tape his running form, directly from the side, back and front.  If you can do whole body as well as waist down, that would be better.  To stabilize, treadmill would work best but, if you can somehow do it on track, that would be good too.  If you can post it on YouTube, that would be best for me--I can work from there.  And tell me the name of the exact model of Puma shoes.  You'd be my guinea pig!! ;o)

                 

                Shin splint can be caused by a lot of different factors.  Yes, downhill running CAN be one--it's more of a slapping action that could also be caused by heel of the shoe too thick particularly if he WAS a heel striker before.  High point of heel can create the lever from the point at which the shoe lands and to the tip of the shoe and that would exaggerate the slapping speed.  Excess pronation CAN cause shin pain, not necessarily shin splint, inside the shin as well.  Excess bounce can also create shin pain so would weak shin muscles.

                  Part of the warm-up one of my old running coaches got us to do included waddling - walking heel - heel, short steps holding toes and forefoot up high. We'd walk 30-60m that way. He claimed this strengthened muscles to prevent shin splints. Now, he was/is a very good runner (for his age clause needed now) and works mostly with very talented runners, so I'm not sure what it'll do for a beginner or how fast it'll have an effect, but it's something to try.

                   

                  BTW, I am a huge fan of Puma running shoes, the Complete Prevail were the best shoe (cushioned, flexible, light) I've ever had on my feet.

                   

                  Oh, and Jeff - I had huge success changing my footstrike, and my brother's doing well with it now. Both of us were used to running in cleats on grass, so a change was pretty much necessary.

                  2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

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                  TimButterfield


                    5) Dude's big and heavy. His lower legs will take time to adjust. Some things are gonna have to get stronger over time. Stay at it.

                    6) Fiddling with footstrike seems at best to be a waste of time, at worse a contributing factor. 

                     

                    I'm shorter at 5'10" and was even heavier at 237 pounds when I started my Couch to 5K in 2009.  If you are landing on your heels, carrying extra weight is a problem.  By landing mid-foot/forefoot with a bent knee, the elastic in your feet and legs can absorb the shock of landing instead of just your bones.  The heavier you are, the more this is needed.  It is always better to build on a good foundation and that is not the heel strike form.  Here is a link to the Lieberman study with the data.  The achilles will need to stretch some if you are used to a raised heel as I was, but repeating a week or two of the plan here and there as needed will allow that to happen.  I posted each entry of my C25K on my blog if you want the specifics of what I went through.  If you review those entries, keep in mind that before I switched to minimal and started my C25K, I had been walking with a cane.  Though I ran very slowly, I was able to successfully complete my C25K.

                      I more or less started at 6'1 225.  It will probably hurt until he drops some weight.  Jeff's stuff is right on.  Others will disagree but he may need some more stability than neutral in his shoes, at least until his body adapts a bit. 

                       

                      Another proponent of not messing with his form.

                      I agree with this wholeheartedly.  I agree with Jeff's points, as well.

                       

                      Yes, don't mess with the footstrike.  Just tell him to run tall and with ease and confidence.  Early pain, I think, makes people run fearfully slow.  Running slow and tense is not good.  If he's patient, he'll find his easy stride.  He just needs to get over the initial hump. 

                       

                      Let him ice those shins when he can. 

                       

                      Most of all, he's got to massage those calves (front, back, east, west) and stay ahead of the tightness. He's a big guy, so he can really let them have the business.  Emu is good.  They have it at CVS.

                       

                      MTA: If he has a desk job, remind him to get up and walk around, stretch and self-massage throughout the day.  If you let those puppies tighten up, then wake up the next morning and run, the shins are going to hurt. 

                      "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                        1) He may have to do even less running for a little while and more walking.

                        2) Get that dude on some soft surfaces.

                        3) Work on calf flexibility.

                        4) Stay at it. Shin splints come and shin splints then go; it's a rite of passage. Once you get over your first case of shin splints, they don't seem to come back.

                        5) Dude's big and heavy. His lower legs will take time to adjust. Some things are gonna have to get stronger over time. Stay at it.

                        6) Fiddling with footstrike seems at best to be a waste of time, at worse a contributing factor

                        7) Can he get on the elliptical some days?

                        8) Eat some vitamin I and stay at it.

                         

                        Great post.

                         

                        I started running at 265 at 5'8". I had horrible shin splints on the front and inside of my calves. The posterior was okay for me. I found stretching the anterior muscles was the remedy I needed. Have him sit with his shins underneath him and lean back over the feet. That really stretched the frontal part of the calf.

                         

                        The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

                         

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                        Cat in a Pot

                          Like Viich said, he needs to do some shin exercises.  Heel walking is good (work up to 2-3 min), or have him lean up against a wall, do 10-12 slow toe lifts, 10-12 fast, rest, repeat.  He should work his way up to 3 sets of 15 of these.

                           

                          Both my coach and my PT gave me my marching orders re shin exercises a few years ago, and when I stick to doing them regularly (4-5x a week), I have no problems.  I do them when brushing my teeth, watching tv, etc.

                          Leslie
                          Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
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                          Fatozzig's Place

                            Shin splints is way too common to be attributed to problems with footstrike. Almost every new runner deals with it, and almost every new runner has a different footstrike.

                             

                            I have my own general opinion about footstrike, which is that it is mostly an effect, not a cause, and that it is overemphasized as a key to running form. Experienced runners can run with a variety of footstrikes, depending on pace, fatigue, etc.

                             

                            I think that if a runner is looking to strike in a different way or has some reason to suspect that footstrike is a problem, the teaching of a new footstrike is less about conscious effort and much more about doing the drills and simply strengthening the body to run in a proper way. (The waddling exercise that Viich mentioned and the fatozzig ones are great.) I have seen some--many?--runners acquire really bad form by trying to run with good form.

                             

                            Poor form, in general, is usually an effect of weaknesses. The way to get great form as a runner is through drills and miles.

                             

                            These are my opinions; they've are long held, and they are not likely to change through internet argument. I also recognize that I could be wrong, and I would encourage anyone to fiddle with anything that they think might help.

                            GThorp


                              1) He may have to do even less running for a little while and more walking.

                              2) Get that dude on some soft surfaces.

                              3) Work on calf flexibility.

                              4) Stay at it. Shin splints come and shin splints then go; it's a rite of passage. Once you get over your first case of shin splints, they don't seem to come back.

                              5) Dude's big and heavy. His lower legs will take time to adjust. Some things are gonna have to get stronger over time. Stay at it.

                              6) Fiddling with footstrike seems at best to be a waste of time, at worse a contributing factor. 

                              7) Can he get on the elliptical some days?

                              8) Eat some vitamin I and stay at it.

                               

                              Number one can be extremely important based on how bad bad the OP's shin splints are. The worse they are, obviously the more time that will be needed to recover. At least take a day or two off to make sure the shin splints are aggrevated and the condition made worse.

                               

                              Number two is also a great recommendation. If you can run on grass instead of pavement, your body will thank you later. Furthermore, the ellipitcal recommendation can help reduce the impact of running on the body. Although you will have to run on hard surfaces from time-to-time, the more you can stick to soft surfaces or lower-impact surfaces, the better.

                              giddy-yup


                                Here's a perspective from one who suffered persistent shin splints and cured* the problem through a change of running form:

                                 

                                For years (and 3 marathons) I suffered through them. For years I tried the most of the things on Jeff's list, which were, for me, insufficient.

                                 

                                About 3 years ago, and over the course of about 6-9 months, I transitioned from a heel strike to mid-foot strike and then fore-foot strike.  The improvement was unbelievable. I'm so pleased and relieved that I did this.

                                 

                                In retrospect, I think what cured shin splints for me was not just the change in running form as much as that I shortened my stride at the front end. No more reaching my foot in front of me and 'pulling my body' forward. Instead, my foot is landing under my center of gravity and solely 'pushing my body' forward.

                                 

                                That's just me talking though. I'm certainly no expert. I've never been coached in running. Never done any serious study. Just picked some things up along the journey that thankfully worked for me.

                                 

                                Good luck, I hope you're able to find a solution that works for you and get all you want out of your running.

                                 

                                * 'cured'  probably over states things a bit. I still have a little tingling in the shins on occasion (usually after tempo pace runs), and still do a little RICE to supplement things.

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