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Question
Posted by: John | 2004/03/08

Shoes

I am just getting into my running more seriously and find that I have aching shins after longer runs. I am worried that this might be shin splits. Could my shoes be the cause of this?

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Our expert says:
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Hi John

I seriously doubt it - the only possible way that the shoes could cause this is if they are very worn and have lost the cushioning. A few years ago, there was a good deal of research done on the role of shoes in injury, and it was found that the most important factor in preventing injury is the cushioning. All the other claims that shoe companies make - for example, that they reduce the movement of the foot, or pronation, were shown to be false. In otherwords, the shoes that you wear were found to have very little effect on the foot movement during running. This is of course one study, and others have found a difference, but I believe that unless the shoe is very bulky and heavy, it won't do anything to change your running mechanics. Similarly, unless you are running in a very minimalist shoe, you would be fine. Therefore, my personal feeling is that an injury is more likely caused by excessive training, or a sudden increase in training volume and intensity, and that the shoes have very little to do with it. The solution to the problem is just to back off the serious distance training - what has probably happened is that you have increased your weekly or daily distance a little too quickly, and this has caused an injury.

Other than this, once you can start running again, reduce training load and intensity, and avoid downhill running and running on cambered surfaces.

Take a course (5 - 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist

Apply ice to the shin area - for 10 minutes every 2 hours, in order to reduce the inflammation

Self-massage, using arnica oil or an anti-inflammatory gel, to the muscle only (along the inside of the shin).

Stretching of the calf muscles. Hold for 30 secs. Relax slowly. Repeat to opposite side. Repeat stretch 2 - 3 times per day.

Remember to stretch well before walking or running.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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