This post could typically sit in a number of categories, however as the core purpose of my post is battling pain I thought it appropriate in the ‘injuries’ section!
I am in my mid-twenties and a frequent soccer/football player, in order to remain fit I run on a treadmill 2/3 times per week, match practice once a week on a hard astro-surface, and obviously play once per week on grass. On and off for as long as I can remember I suffer from painful shin-splints which infrequently progress into a combination of ankle and knee injuries as well (no doubt through ‘playing through the pain’). The pain can range from a dull throb on my inner shins that will disappear after finishing a run, to a painful knot/weakness which could be enough to cause me to limp as I move generally.
I’ve attributed the constant issues to a high arch in my foot, and an un-natural running style I developed having broken my leg aged 15 (I seem to run with my lower back curved inward – causing my posture to lean forward and arguably put greater pressure on my shins). I’ve attempted a host of possible remedies, from anti-inflammatories to physiotherapy (was given awful advice that was tantamount to “You just need to run differently!”).
What I find frustrating is that I have the energy to run a lot further then my legs can carry me – I am expecting to hear that 4/5 separate running episodes per week is simply too much activity for my shins to take – I’m just wondering how I can get as fit as possible without comprising my lower leg health. For any kind soul out there who has the patience to read this, I’ve added a few extra points which might be relevant;
- Running shoes now approx 3 years old
- I’m male, 5’5 approx 10.5 stone (150lbs)
- My aim is to develop explosive speed/power over shorter distances instead of prolonged distance running.
Any support/advice would be very much appreciated. On a final note, does anyone know if compression socks are worthwhile?
Sounds like a real hindrance there. It seems that running in itself, is no so important.. it's about focussing of the footy.
If I was you, I'd cut out the treadmill altogether. At least for a couple of months, to see if that improves things. Keep your fitness up with cycling and on a rowing machine or similar.... something without the impact on your shins. New running shoes will do no harm either - although it sounds like you had shin splints before your shoes got old. They say 400 miles is the life of a running shoe - and although you can often eek out more than that, eventually it catches up with you - and if you're looking to recover from shin splints, this will not help.
Do your 'explosive' running training on grass, using your footy boots.
Cut out the astro turf for a couple of weeks, at least, to let your legs recover a bit.
Obviously, for football, you'd ideally include a bit of longer distance running (e.g. the treadmill) - but I really think that on balance, you're better leaving that out - at least until you get yourself sorted.
In terms of professional help, do you think you've tried a real sports specialist? (not just someone with a namebadge that says they are!). Ask around locally and find a really good one. It sounds like you should invest time (and money) on getting your biomechanics sorted out, or you'll spend the next 10 years always battling and 'making-do'.
Good luck with it.
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