April 28, 2009

Shin Splint Relief!

I took 2 months off from running (shortly after buying new, very rigid & supportive running shoes) for fear that the intense lower leg pain I was feeling were stress fractures from overuse. But after the very first time running again after all that time off, the pain was still there!
Thankfully, a friend from church is in exercise science & therapy. I explained my pain to her, and she told me that I have severe shin splints, caused by my too-rigid shoes, my tight foot arches, and my too-weak front calf muscles.
My first response was...."There are muscles in the front of your calves?" I know that's a "duh!" question, but I had been focusing so much on strengthening my back calf muscles, that I had never even thought to think about the muscles on the front of my calf! So she told me to walk around on my heels all day, and tap my toes, to get those front calf muscles activated. So I have!
My friend prescribed freezing a water bottle and standing on it, rolling it back & forth on my foot arches. The purpose of this is to massage the tight arch and the cold eases inflammation that causes tenderness.
She also recommended icing my lower shins, right where it hurts, until it is numb, then massaging the muscles around it.
A third thing she suggested was putting 2 in-sole inserts into my shoes to provide slightly more cushioning when I run. This works!
These exercises and massaging hurts a lot, but they have enabled me to run again. I have consistently been running about 4 miles every other day or so.
I'd say that my friend's advice has helped me get about 70% better!
God bless her, and I hope this advice helps anyone else with chronic shin splints!
If you have any questions regarding sports injury, let me know, and I'll ask my friend.

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