>Running 101>Help! Shin splints- HM three weeks away!
Hi all! This is my first time posting, though I have been lurking since I joined RA in February. As you can see from the title of my post, I seem to be suffering from shin splits, and I have a half marathon in just under three weeks. It seems to be posterior shin splints, with the pain being just above my ankle on the inside of my right leg. I could really use some suggestions for what I can do to help my situation- I've been really looking forward to this race, and would hate to have to forfeit.
A little background- I'm a new again runner. I ran for a couple of years, got three HM's under my belt before I gave up running for a whole host of complicated reasons that aren't really relevent here. In any case, after a six year running hiatus, I started running again in February. I completed the C25k program, then the one hour runner program, and then started training for this HM. I have increased my mileage incredibly slowly, and was having little trouble with aches and pains until I was forced to run on the treadmill while away on vacation a little more than a week ago. Ever since then, I've had this pain on the inside of my right leg. The pain isn't excruciating- I can run through it- but it's certainly not getting any better. I'm concerned that it's going to get really ugly if I don't do something about it soon. If I can somehow get through this HM, I was planning to take it easy until the end of the year, at which time I will start training for a 30k race.
Last week, I completed two 5 mile runs, a 3 mile run, and a 10 mile run. This is my highest weekly mileage so far since I started running again. The pain didn't get any worse while running, but it didn't get better either.
My question is- how do I approach the next three weeks in terms of running? Would massage or some active release (OUCH!) help get me through? Should I ease up on the running, and hit the elliptical? Sigh... please help!!!
Back in the saddle, after six years off...
Spring 2013- 5k 24:15
Fall 2013- HM 2:00:01
Stay healthy and uninjured... so much for that.
What works for me and shin splints (or just general maintenance to prevent them in the first place)
1 Find a wall you can lean against, stand about a foot away from it.
2 Lean your shoulders on the wall, and keep the rest of your body straight from your shoulders to your feet
3 keep your toes off the ground, and flex both ankles up as high as you can and then relax them slowly (~1s a rep) 10-30x (toes off the ground the entire time, even when you're relaxing your ankles)
4 Then for 10-30s, flex and relax your toes (same way as before) except this is as fast as you can, over a small range of motion, (here you should really feel the "shin splint" muscles burning)
Then sometimes I'll take a 1-2 minute break, walk around a little and do it again. I try and do this once or twice a week after runs, and I haven't had an issue with shin splints since,
I used to get shin splints a lot (lots of asphalt/concrete running) and then one of the guys on my college xc team showed me this exercise and it's been a part of my routine ever since.
There are a ton of threads on RA about shins splints. But more recent research has suggested that shins splints are more often bone injuries, rather than soft tissue. I took this article to heart since I'm suffering with MTSS now. I did graston and ART but what has helped most in the last two weeks has been running in my Skechers Go Runs (more minimal shoe), reducing volume (even though I had little to begin with) and slowing way down. Bone recovers a lot more slowly than an inflamed muscle or tendon.
Thank you both for the replies! I really appreciate the advice. EGH3- thank you for the link. I am taking everything that was said in that article to heart. My goal when I started running this time was to do it for life, and I'm not going to let this little setback stop me!
I ended up taking a few days off to do lots of RICE, massage, stretching and strengthening. In the process, I discovered that the all the muscles in my lower leg are incredibly weak. I have a long way to go. I got new shoes, compression socks, and a foam roller (OUCH!). I started running again on Friday, at a greatly reduced pace. The pain was much improved, but not gone. I thought I might have to forfeit the HM, but then I discovered KT tape. I bought some reluctantly, thinking that it wasn't possible for a couple of pieces of stretchy tape to do anything to eliminate my pain. But tonight, I applied it as directed on the website, and ran four miles- pain free, for the first time in weeks! Who knew???
So my plan now is to continue with the stretching, strengthening, massage, foam rolling, icing after runs, and keeping the pace nice and slow. I'm hoping that will allow me to complete my race, though I have officially thrown my time goals out the window. I'll be running this one for fun.
But I know I'm not out of the woods- I would really like to eliminate this problem for good... so after the race, I plan to reduce my weekly mileage, do some cross training, and continue to work hard on the stretching, strengthening and foam rolling. These things really seem to be helping. It's soooo hard to be patient, though!!!
Anyway, thank you again! I really appreciate the help.
Read http://www.runningwritings.com/2012/10/injury-series-medial-tibial-stress.html. There are a ton of threads on RA about shins splints. But more recent research has suggested that shins splints are more often bone injuries, rather than soft tissue. I took this article to heart since I'm suffering with MTSS now. I did graston and ART but what has helped most in the last two weeks has been running in my Skechers Go Runs (more minimal shoe), reducing volume (even though I had little to begin with) and slowing way down. Bone recovers a lot more slowly than an inflamed muscle or tendon.
Great article. Too bad it seems to in part basically say they still don't know what causes shin splints, other than an increase in running. And they still don't know how to prevent them or cure them, other than reducing running.
I wouldn't quite take it that way. Yes, reducing running when there is pain is requried. But, once the bone remodeling has a chance to work, the bone will be stronger and be able to handle in an increase in load. It takes time and a very gradual build-up. Another great resource is Anatomy for Runners. Many here on RA have already recommended it.