Aaah, Shin Splints. Didn't know what all the fuss was about until a
year and a half ago, when I had my first run-in with this insidious
running injury, while training for the Marine Corps Marathon. It seems
on this site I may be 'hogging' all the injuries...but that's just
because Gary is a genetic mutation. He doesn't get injured, or even
sore...except from YOGA! :)
Anyway, shin splints are typically diagnosed after experiencing pain in the lower leg. The most common kind is on the front of the leg, outside the shin bone...but there is also a posterior (behind the tibia) kind that are really fun-that's what I had. This pain is said to be caused by the muscles in the lower leg being so tight, that it creates small tears along the insertion of the muscles on the tibia. Sounds pleasant, doesn't it??
As with plantar fasciitis, some of the 'tools' of healing are massage, stretching, icing and a less pounding activity than what brought it about in the first place. Not an easy task when you are training for a race, and need to increase, not decrease your miles!
1) Massage helps to increase
circulation, and reduce tension in those muscles. More particular is
the attention you give to the muscle just next to the shin bone from the
ankle to the knee. With a lot of shin splint incidence, there is a
trigger point that has formed in and around that tibialis anterior
muscle. A good massage therapist can help massage it our for you if
there is one present.
2) Gentle stretching releases some of the tension, increases circulation, and reduces inflammation. The factors with this is one, you actually have to take the time to stretch it, and since you are hurting you should have plenty of down time. And two, is not to over stretch it causing even more inflammation than the injury is throwing at you!
reduces inflammation, and flushes the muscle to increase circulation.
Some people respond very well to a systematic icing routine versus the
other approaches. We have found that the more motivated the effected
individual is to get back to exercise the more willing the person they
are to take the time to do this.
In working with shin splints with any of these tactics, if the entire lower leg and foot is focused on, it helps to reduce the overall tension, instead of just focusing on one small point of discomfort. Clink on the graphic on the right column to see more information for more information from Wikipedia on Shin Splints!
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