Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-05-10

Shin splints

Help. Have right shoes, but still develop shin splints. Need to correct. Please help. Thanks

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Our expert says:
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It’s a training error, mostly, in that you’re increasing the volume or intensity of running too quickly. The shoes are a very small part of the problem. The tricky thing about shin pain is that when we talk about 'shin splints', we're actually talking about a symptom - it could still have a number of different causes. So without knowing that cause, treatment is very very difficult.

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.
• 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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