Posted by: kerry | 2008/06/11

shin splints

Hope you can assist. I am a 34 year old female and have always lead a moderately active lifestyle. I have over the last few (approximately 3) months however not been as active as before. It was then that I decided to take up running which initially entailed walking the majority of fun walks / runs. However a week ago I successfully completed my first 10 km run and was very enthusiastic and looking forward to further challenges.

The problem is that the day following the 10km race I felt pains in my shins which has now severly hampered my progress. Rest thus far has not helped

My questions are:

1) Should I train through the pain (as some people have advised)
2) Should I see a sports doctor or biokinetist
3) Bearing in mind that prior to embarking on my training I went to a specialist shoe store (Heart & Sole I think) who provided me with New Balance shoes that I am currently using, does it make sense to see someone to evaluate my runnning style

It would be great if you can point me in the right direction.

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Our expert says:
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HI Kerry

1) No, don't push through pain. The key is pain "management", where you train up to the point, but not beyond. You'll only make it worse if you push beyond that point. It's tricky, because once you have an injury, then pain is kind of part of the price - you can often keep training and as long as you don't overdo it, you accept some pain, but the pain will get less and less intense as the days go by. That would be your goal too - just keep training, but don't go too fast or too long.

2) I'd change your training first, and see what impact that has. The most common cause of injury is a training increase, either volume or frequency that is too sudden for your body to adapt to. Therefore, my advice is to back off the training. If you were previously doing say 4 runs/walks of 6 km a week, then I'd cut down to 3 of 5km each. That reduction might resolve the problem. If not, then you could consider seeing someone, but that would be the next step.

3) Again, I don't prescribe to this theory that the shoes are in any way responsible. Of course, wearing the wrong shoes can affect your chances of injury, but they themselves don't cause the problem - the training does. The shoes are simply the "medium" for the athlete to get injured! So as for point number 2, I'd say change the training, give that 2 weeks, and then see what has changed.

Good luck

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