Another shin splint post i do apologise!

shin splints occurring 3 weeks into training

10 messages
22/10/2013 at 00:25

Hi guys,

This is my first post here and i just want to share with you a slight niggle im having.

I've just started to train at the gym, the first time in my 22 years to join one and i've joined it to drop some weight and train for a sub 60 minute 10k before the new year.

I'm 3 or 4 weeks into my training and i can comfortably run for 35-40 mins with 2-3 2.5 minute walking breaks and running for the rest at 6min/km. But today i started my warm up and then went into my run (ive had a break for 3 days) and i got that dreadful shin splint pain, couldnt run at all and had to stop after 2km. I've never had any pain with my shins before and this is my first time since i started training, 70km since 21st september.

I'm just wondering if it's the normal symptoms/cause because i havent changed anything since the start, my running style, foot landing and only gradually increasing the intensity since the start.

I know these posts are all over the internet but its nice to get a response specifically to you

 

Thanks!

22/10/2013 at 01:46

Hi Jake,

From your description, it sounds like you've not really done much running until a month ago. Correct?  I'm afraid that 4-8 weeks is the classic time for new runners to get shin splints... so you're pretty much in that range.

When you run, there's a lot of force coming down those legs... and it gets hammered down perhaps 80-90 times a minute on each leg.  Like most elements of the body, your legs adapt and respond to new challenges... but you have to build up slowly.   I strongly suspect that you haven't build up slowly enough.If you've done 70K in a month, building up steadily... how many km have you run in the week leading up to the injury? I guess at least 20km, probably more.   If you follow a recognised programme, most likely you'd be running about 10-12 km in week 4  (www.runnersworld.co.uk/racing/six-week-beginner-5k-schedule/67.html).  Unfortunatley most of us, especially young enthusiastic people, find that their heart, lungs and legs can easily carry them much further than this - often at quite some speed...  and we get carried away, unaware of this accumulating hidden damage.  It really does take patience in the first 8 weeks or so.  Give your tissues time to adapt to the demands you're putting on them.

Shin splints result from accumulated damage to the connective tissues between shin and muscles, usually not far above the ankle.   Essentially, each time you rest after a run, your body repairs itself....but if you keep doing too much, then your body never gets chance to catch up on its repairs... until a threshhold is reached...  and shin splints then result when the damage is too much.  As I said, this usually takes a few weeks before it's reached.

There are ways in which you can influence the damage (apart from running less) - and you identified some. Landing with your toes pointing upwards (hence shortening the shin muscles) doesn't help... as there is no flexibility left on landing.  Anything that twists the leg as you land adds to the accumulation of microdamage.. this can be 'overpronation' of the foot - most people believe that a free 'gait analysis' in a proper running shop will help identify and correct such a problem.  But physios can also identify it, and perhaps have a more holistic view of how the entire legs move.  Also... keep your steps short.  It's recommended you aim for 180 steps a minute (run 30seconds and count how many times your right foot hits the ground... and multiply by 4 to get this figure).  This also helps you make sure your feet are landing pretty much under your centre of gravity with each step, rather than too far out in front of you.

You now need to rest a week or two.  Perhaps ice the affected area, and massage it prior to running next time.   Cut back on your running - and build it up slower, along the lines of that link I included earlier, or th 'couch to 5K' programme.

Good luck.  Be patient for a few weeks, and you'll reap the rewards.

22/10/2013 at 02:08
+1
22/10/2013 at 07:23

Your main concern should be whether you have a stress fracture or not.  If the pain continues for two weeks go to the doctor - not a private physio- and get an MRI.  May have to pay for the MRI.

22/10/2013 at 07:36

Runny Knows - that's an excellent, comprehensive response - we should save it and direct any future questions to it .

22/10/2013 at 10:55
Exactly the reply I was looking for Runny Knows thank you!
Yeah last week I did nearly 20k in 4 runs so I'm guessing you're right in the sense that I'm being too enthusiastic. Gonna try a slow run at the gym today and if the pain starts then I'm gonna rest and invest in ice packs!
22/10/2013 at 17:34
Are you still selling MRIs surrey runner? For that place in town??
22/10/2013 at 20:03

MRIs and bone scans are the only way of diagnosing a stress fracture.  Unfortunately some physios are too thick to know that and I suffered because of it.

 

not being able to run or indeed any excercise is pretty frustrating.

Edited: 22/10/2013 at 20:24
22/10/2013 at 22:39
LouiseG wrote (see)

Runny Knows - that's an excellent, comprehensive response - we should save it and direct any future questions to it .

Thanks... I suspect it's not bad for an amateur, but I'm sure a professional could improve it.  I've had minor shin splints myself. Had some physio off a guy who's written a paper on the subject... so I read around the subject quite a bit last year.  One other very comprehensive paper put some convincing evidence together to propose that shin splints and stress fractures are more heavily linked than generally accepted... that they are injuries on the same continuum... but I can't find the blooming thing now. I'd like to re-read it.

What the hell possessed me to write it all out, at that time of night, I'll never know!

Edited: 22/10/2013 at 22:40
22/10/2013 at 22:46

Runny, if you ever find that article post a link please. I had a stress fracture to my fibula last year, followed by a couple of metatarsal fractures and have just had 3 months out with shin splints.  All in same leg. 

 


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