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Question
Posted by: Carol | 2010/11/23

&quot Shin splints" 

Hi Doc,

Hope you can help.

Recently, after jogging and doing calf raises, I noticed that the front of my lower leg - shins - are sore. I spoke to a friend and he says it''s called " shin splints"  and it happens when you jog and do calf raises incorrectly, and that I have " crappy"  shoes.

Is this true? Because my trainers were freaking expensive and made for athletes, and how can one possibly do calf raises wrong?? I know jogging is different and has to be done specifically...and maybe I AM doing THAT wrong (I don''t jog often at all)

Some advice would be great.

Thanks alot.
Happy Holidays!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI Carol

Shin splints is the symptom, and it can have a number of causes. Most likely, in your case, is the sudden increase of loading on the calves, and the muscle tightness this causes. It's not the calf raises - doing too many, yes, because that causes the same thing as the running, but it's not a technique issue.

For example, here are some of the causes of the shin pain:

Inflexible calf muscles and tight Achilles tendons - place more stress on to the muscle attachments.
Over-flexible calf muscles - amazingly, you can have the same problem if you're too flexible as when you're not flexible enough! It all depends on where the problem is. Now you see why it's difficult to treat!
Overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) excessive running on hard surfaces, such as concrete pavements.
Incorrect or worn shoes - not a concern in your case, since they're new, but something to be mindful of.
Overtraining, or a rapid increase in training load or intensity.
Beginner runners are more susceptible to this problem for a variety of reasons, but most commonly due to the fact that the leg muscles have not been stressed in such a way before they started running.

I would say that this is your main problem - you are probably just not used to the longer duration training and so you experience the burning when the leg muscles fatigue.

So the very first thing that you should do is back off the training volume. I'm not sure what you're doing, but if you can back off and reduce it, by say 50% for a week, then 30%, then 20%, and then 10%, you'll have taken 4 weeks 'off' and hopefully sorted it out. If not, then at that stage, i would suggest seeing a doctor or a physio about it and see if they can pinpoint what the problem is exactly!

Good luck

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1
Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/12/05

HI Carol

Shin splints is the symptom, and it can have a number of causes. Most likely, in your case, is the sudden increase of loading on the calves, and the muscle tightness this causes. It's not the calf raises - doing too many, yes, because that causes the same thing as the running, but it's not a technique issue.

For example, here are some of the causes of the shin pain:

Inflexible calf muscles and tight Achilles tendons - place more stress on to the muscle attachments.
Over-flexible calf muscles - amazingly, you can have the same problem if you're too flexible as when you're not flexible enough! It all depends on where the problem is. Now you see why it's difficult to treat!
Overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) excessive running on hard surfaces, such as concrete pavements.
Incorrect or worn shoes - not a concern in your case, since they're new, but something to be mindful of.
Overtraining, or a rapid increase in training load or intensity.
Beginner runners are more susceptible to this problem for a variety of reasons, but most commonly due to the fact that the leg muscles have not been stressed in such a way before they started running.

I would say that this is your main problem - you are probably just not used to the longer duration training and so you experience the burning when the leg muscles fatigue.

So the very first thing that you should do is back off the training volume. I'm not sure what you're doing, but if you can back off and reduce it, by say 50% for a week, then 30%, then 20%, and then 10%, you'll have taken 4 weeks 'off' and hopefully sorted it out. If not, then at that stage, i would suggest seeing a doctor or a physio about it and see if they can pinpoint what the problem is exactly!

Good luck

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