T Nation


I got back from football camp a week ago and my shin splints are awful! Anyone have any suggestions other than ice on what to do?

I used to treat my dads as he was a runner and got real bad ones, Heres what i would do first lots of vit c and antioxidants. maybe a little asprin for the pain. lots of protein for repair i like to double it when i am recovering from an illness or injury and also double carbs and add a little bit more fat. Now for the thearapy alternate between ice and hot poultices for 15 mins at a time in the next couple of days slowly massage the muscle and the opposing one aswell, and slowly do stretches for it such as pointing your foot down towards the ground. This should have it cleared up in no time flat .

I feel it, I have shin splints too. I am still hurting from going all out with a running program on the first day…That was 5 days ago. I guess we just have to tough it out and not use our legs for a while.

I’m trying to conjure images from Injury Prevention and Kine class at school…There’s different types of shin splints. Anterior Compartment, Lateral Compartment and a third that escapes me. Basically, the most prodominant is as a result of the Gastrocnemius(Calves) tearing away from their insertion. Therefore, an often effetcive remedy (ice and NSAIDs asside) is to stretch your calves. Go to the point of tension not pain and hold the stretch for 1 to 2 minutes.
Good supps include Flax/Fish Oils, MSM, SAMe, chondroiton. Stay away from Advil, Tylenol and Aspirin because they hinder the body’s ability to regenerate muscle tissue. Stay away from Glucosamine because it decreases insulin sensitivity. Sup info came from “NEWS FROM THE FRONT” by Dr. Doug Kalman.

Spencer I feel for you. The best thing to do is make sure you ice, take anti-inflamatatory (Advil, Aleve etc. (disagree with Big Rob on this one) stretch your calves and REST. If you cannot rest then make sure you warm up very good before doing sprints or running on the track. Don’t run on wet grass either, it will inflame them. The best way to avoid them next time is gradually build up your running instead of going from nothing to going all out. Good luck and this too shall pass.

a kinda reverse calf raise will help. if your gym doesnt have one of these, sit on a high platform w/feet hanging down (a good foot or two above the floor) tie a rope to some wts. and put it on your foot by your toes, now without moveing your leg pull your toes up (rverse calf raise) in the gym you can also do them sitting on a bench w/your leg on the bench by a floor cable, hook your foot in the handle(one time when those stupid leg straps would come in handy if they have them) and pull your toes up (reverse calf raises. hope it helps (you may be in ALOT of pain walking the next day so keep it easy in the begining. peace

Once they’re healed, spend about 5 minutes walking on your heels around the house. Do this 2 or 3 times a day religiously for a few weeks and you won’t have this problem again, at least for awhile. It worked for me like a charm.

used to get them bad when i was in the army, running with a heavy rucksack. one helpful thing was to work the anterior tibialis muscles. they’re often neglected. some gyms have a machine, or you can do a sort of donkey calf raise on your heels instead of the balls of your feet. granted, this is more preventive than pain-alleviating, but it’ll also give your calves an active stretch.

art (active release) worked for my wife.

Haven’t been around people with shin splints in a long time (high school days, early '80s). I never had them myself, but what I remember reading is that the usual cause is a lack of forefoot cushioning (in the shoes or running surface). Possibly the camp was on artificial turf? Less cushioning than natural? Any way, there was a secondary cause which was a foot pronation during a certain part of the stride. Don’t remember where that was, but might be worth looking into. Some one with more kinesiology knowledge care to comment?

Spencer, I began running a month ago, after a two year layoff, and bingo, suffered from shin splints, bad ones, within fifty yards. Debiliting pain. Got into my ART chiropractor the next day, explained I was suddenly training for a triathlon, and HAD to be able to run pain free. After she finished laughing at me when I admitted I’ve been doing NO stretching since spring got here, coupled with gigantic increases in my cardio (road and mountain biking), she worked on my shins a bit, but mostly put me through a series of stretches which I’ve been doing 2x per day for ten to fifteen minutes per session.
Heytey’s suggestion is a great one; you can also find a low pulley setup in a gym and use one of those padded straps women are always doing weird leg movements with, lie down with your legs outstretched, and perform the toe raise with one foot at a time. Stretch your calves backwards, too, as far as possible, for two to three minutes at a crack. Any yoga or stretching book will give you some pointers for stretches for the hips, all good. Really get into quad stretches, too, as that flexibility is critical for proper stride and foot placement. My shin splints began to go away immediately, and for the last two weeks I’ve not suffered at all; I keep up the stretches,though. Another thing you can try, which even works at a desk, is to get a big thick rubber band and pull upwards on the toe of your foot while seated at the computer (that’s what I do periodically throughout the day). Magical for me.

Heat for 3 minutes then ice for 10 repeat for 5 cycles. After your next run/workout put your ass against a wall and your legs up on the wall for at least 4 minutes believe it or not it will drain the lactic acid builup out of your legs and into your hips at most however it will speed the healing of your shins. This is also a great way to avoid getting sore from a gueling leg workout. Sounds stupid but it works. I usually do it for 5 minutes if I can sit still that long after martial arts. Also try Pavel T’s relax into stretch program that really helped with leg injuries.

“a kinda reverse calf raise” I do these on a lying legcurl machine. But of course I have to use it in reverse, I sit on it and curl the weight up with the front part of my lowerlegs.

i used to get shin splints during track workouts. you need to do alot of stretching and workout the front of the shin by doing reverse calve pulls. instead of pressing the weight like you do in calve presses, you actually use your foot to pull up towards your knee. this will work out the front of the shin. it will help correct the muscle imbalance. usually people just workout the calves and not the front muscles. laters pk

OK Spencer I’m going to throw my coins in the pot too. The main reason most people get shin splints from running, regardless of the specific “type” is chronically shortened gastroc/soleus complex. The main job of your ant. leg during running is to decelerate your foot at footstrike, so if your calves and Achilles/plantarfascia are tight, you are putting the muscles into a “pre-stretch” before they even start. Then they don’t have enough leverage (cross-bridging) to apply the necessary force, you begin to hear your feet slap as you fatigue and the muscles injure themselves trying to do their job under poor working conditions. After your run they will need a good ice massage for about 15 min. and elevation. Freeze some papercups full of water and tear the paper down as the ice block melts, while rubbing up and down your shins. Between runs, stretch your calves with straight and bent knees, without your shoes on, and after they are relaxed, perform toe raises (literally raising your toes), but exaggerate the downward motion so you develop strength through the newfound range of motion. Between sets of toe lifts, repeat the calf stretches to keep them relaxed. This should do the trick. Another big piece of the puzzle is your shoes. Make sure they are not more than 6 months old and if you are doing alot of running replace the insole at 2-3 months.