Shin splints & midfoot strike

TMTS, technique or not suited to

19 messages
03/03/2012 at 19:35
Hi all, just need a little advice on shin splints and trying to midfoot strike. Ive been running in my vibrams for just under 6 months now after getting shin splints early last year. In hindsight these were probably caused by TMTS and worn out shoes. Read about forefoot running and its potential remedy for various running ailments. I bought my vibrams and read about correct technique. Worked on the beginners 8 week programme but again got shin splints. Rested up and with the birth of my son didnt do any running again until later autumn last years.

So all inspired by a certain book which you can probably all guess started the beginners 8 week programme again. Got some mild shin splints which I rested and some pain around them top of my foot but nothing major. Towards them ends of them programmeach I found I was getting a stiff feeling around them back of my leg towards them bottom of my calf and them sides of my ankle towards them ankle bone. Quickly went after I stopped them run. I thends got them idea to try a half marathon. Bought some saucony kinvara 2 as thought theye might help with them tightness and foot pain.

Started to do half hour to 40 minute sessions in them and them pain at them top of my foot went away and I startdd to focus more on midfoot rather than forefoot. Cv wise was fine, but was still getting the tightness and mild shin splints. Anyway, decided to run outside on the road following a half marathon plan from my asics. 2 weeks in and doing 4 x 2 - 3 mile runs per week with a pace of 9:30 per mile. Again ive found myself with shin splints and have rested up the last 4 days. The pain is not on the bone but behind it on the inside. I have ready a couple of books about barefoot technique and chi running. The technique feels fine but with the shin splints still being an issue im wondering where im going wrong.

So is this a case of too much too soon or a part of conditioning? Should I consider heel striking and getting a gait analysis and maybe orthotics. Feel a bit bummed out at them moment. I wanna run but them shin splints keep stopping me. Thanks for reading, anyone got any suggestions?
03/03/2012 at 22:03
cr250noob
It sounds to me as though you have been sensible in your approach. We know that any change in technique is going to come with a whole host of pains as the body adapts. This adaptation can take months to years - so patience is required.

As to the shin splints - it would appear that you still have tight inner shin muscle structures and as you are using those areas when you run they are still reacting with pain.

A visit to your running physio, an assessment and treatment (also self treatment) of the muscle tension should help you on your way.Ned to address any other bio-mechanical issues that your new technique may be throwing up.

Very often when muscles have been tight for some time, I find rest (even prolonged) is not enough to free up the muscles and they need outside intervention.

Hope this is a starting point for you

Greg
04/03/2012 at 00:35
Look - shoot me down in flames is just a shot in the dark: perhaps barefoot running isnt all its cracked up to be and it isnt for you?
04/03/2012 at 00:37
Oops, just read my earlier post back. Guess I should of proof read what I had written before posting especially with predictive text on my mobile!

Thanks for the reply Greg, there is a sports clinic not too far from me, ill give them a call and see if I can make an appointment.
04/03/2012 at 00:43
Might have a point there kicked-it, its something thats crossed my mind recently.
04/03/2012 at 00:51

As an expeimen why dont you try getting fitted for shoes the traditiional way, and run for a couple of months in whatever corporate evil stability inspired devldry they recommend, and see if thigs get worse/ beteer/no different.

Given that the barefoot revolution hast turned out to be an instant pancacea for you personally, what have you got to lose?

I'd love to hear your findings....

05/03/2012 at 13:20
You can still run wrong in VFF have you gone totally barefoot?
05/03/2012 at 13:43

I've had very similar issues. When I first began barefoot running I didn't realise that although I'd naturally adapted to a forefoot landing, I was still overstriding in the same way I did when I was a heel-striker in marshmallow shoes.

I was also overstraining my calf muscles by running 'on my toes' and never touching down with my heel. I had nasty shin splints and had to take a long break from running.

I've since learned that a key part of good form is to make sure you land with your foot directly underneath you, not out in front. Lean forwards slightly by bending at the ankle (not the waist), land on your forefoot or midfoot, then lightly touch down with your heel and push off.

The other key is to go very slowly at first and build up speed and distance extremely gradually. Listen to your body and pay attention when it complains!

I had been running completely problem-free for several months, then a couple of weeks ago I built up both the pace and the frequency a bit too much again. Combine that with going for a run when I was very over-tired and stressed one day, so my form got sloppy, and hey presto - shin splints again!

Barefoot running isn't easy, but I remain convinced it's the way to stop long-term injury. It has an honesty about it - you soon find out if you're doing something wrong!

05/03/2012 at 20:03
Havent tried to go fully barefoot yet, did try it at the gym once and one of the instructors told me id have to leave if i didnt put some shoes on. I think my form does get sloppy towards the end of my runs as i always tend to finish with a long steady uphill which knackers me. I might try and alternate. the hills and try some flatter routes.
06/03/2012 at 10:36

Yeah, gyms tend to have a pretty unenlightened attitude to BFR!

The thing about form is that if you've run for years in high-heeled shoes, you have some muscle memories that will be deeply ingrained. Particularly when you're tired, it's easy for these old habits to surface again. 

I really thought I'd nailed good form, but all it took was a couple of days to undo everything again! Bit disappointing, but just underlines how important it is to work at your form and keep focus. We live and learn!

I've taken a week off running and worked at massaging my shins, applying arnica gel, ice, etc. Tomorrow I plan to start up again, but taking it very gently. In particular I've recognised that trying to increase the speed is likely to make me overstride.

So my advice would be to think carefully about your weaknesses. Running flatter routes could definitely work. Run slow and easy, paying careful attention to your form.

Jason Robillard (http://barefootrunninguniversity.com/barefoot-running/) talks a lot of sense about good form and barefoot running.

06/03/2012 at 15:42

I was also overstraining my calf muscles by running 'on my toes' and never touching down with my heel. I had nasty shin splints and had to take a long break from running.

I've since learned that a key part of good form is to make sure you land with your foot directly underneath you, not out in front. Lean forwards slightly by bending at the ankle (not the waist), land on your forefoot or midfoot, then lightly touch down with your heel and push off.


I have a tendency to run on my toes too but if I do I also get shin splints, I have to make a real effort to touch down with my heel!!!
06/03/2012 at 23:34
Cheers guys, some interesting pointers there. Going to try a run on thursday. will be a week then. Legs feel good, going to try a more flat run and try to focus on my technique a lot more.
07/03/2012 at 10:44

I suffer with shin splints and I've found if you ice the area immediately after running it helps the recovery and ease the pain substantially.  I've started increasing my miles to train for a half marathon and found the problem has raised its ugly head again. Seeing a physio next week so I'll let you know if he provides any other pointers.

07/03/2012 at 13:19
cr250noob wrote (see
)
Cheers guys, some interesting pointers there. Going to try a run on thursday. will be a week then. Legs feel good, going to try a more flat run and try to focus on my technique a lot more.


Good luck!

I tried 4 miles this morning and felt good. So far no ill effects... I took it slowly and paid careful attention to see if there was any pain - I resolved to stop and turn back if there was. Luckily it was OK!

Will keep my fingers crossed for you.  

08/03/2012 at 17:27
Be good to hear what the physio advises Alison.

Did 3 miles today, changed my route to avoid some hills. Made a real concious effort to shorten my stride and focus on my technique. Run went well, no shin splints only a slight ache just above my ankle whic went after the run. Did some calf stretches afterwards which i think has helped. Will have see how things go.
09/03/2012 at 13:22

That's great news - sounds like you're on the mend.

Thought you might be interested in this video I found yesterday - a demonstration of absolutely awesome form, with instructions on how to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSIDRHUWlVo

09/03/2012 at 19:23
Great demo!
22/04/2012 at 22:29
Just a bit of an update for those interested. Saw some lunarglide shield on offer in a local sports shop couldnt resist! As i understand these shoes have cushioning and stability features. Ive changed from a forfoot strike to a heel / midfoot strike. Am now in my 4th week of myasics half marathon training programme and doin 4 runs a week. All the ankle aches and pains have gone. Still get some very mild shin splints but they are gone a day or 2 after my run. Not sure why mid / for wasnt working for me, just glad i can run. Hopefully everything will stay good.
23/04/2012 at 17:54
I've had shin splints for so long and running form hadn't even occurred to me until I found this video last week.

Once i'm pain free from this bout of splints i'll be changing my technique to forefoot running. watch vid links below, really educational.

I too am a heel striker. The first video link demonstrates very clearly what this is and benefits of BFR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3Nt4WgQed8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN1x3Ik1t5Y&list=PL13A4C9D0FD32F4C2&index=7&feature=plpp_video

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