Ask the physio - Shin splints

This month's focus with Paul Hobrough: shin splints

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Q. What are the best ways to deal with shin splints? I’m training for a 10K and I find it frustrating to not run.
Helen Tiller, via webchat

The problem:

Shin splints are extremely prevalent at this time of year, as spring marathon training miles increase each week. This particular problem is a soft tissue injury, where the key muscles that control the slow lowering of your foot at each step – and also control and maintain the longitudinal foot arch – are being put royally through their paces.

The main muscle groups in question are the tibialis anterior and the tibialis posterior. Most soft tissue injuries are caused because the muscles are too weak and too short to do the job they’re designed to do, so when you increase the mileage, they start to break down. Each muscle has an outer layer called the periosteum, and while you know the injury as shin splints, the clinical term is periostitis – meaning inflammation of the periosteum of the muscles.

Many see this as a precursor to higher levels of damage, such as stress response or a stress fracture to the tibia. Think of a stress response as like the white lines you would see in a plastic ruler if you repeatedly bent it back and forth, and think of a stress fracture as when this turns into a definitive crack.

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most common running injury, physio, calf exercises, shin splints, shin pain, stress fracture, running with shin splints, running injury

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Are the pictures and words for 4 and 5 mixed up? 

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 22:03

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