4

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Any runners who have overcome shin splints? How did you do it?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 14, 2011 at 8:18 PM

I started running in high school on the cross country team. I was great for the first couple years, but in year 3 I also joined the track team and developed shin splints. I didn't run my senior year because it hurt just walking.

That was about 8 years ago and, maybe once every year or so since, I try to start running again (I really enjoy it). A month or less into it, I start to get shin splints again. This past year, someone on PaleoHacks mentioned POSE/forefoot running and I thought, "Yes! That's the answer!" I have been running casually with great success for several months with no issues. Casually = very short distances, maybe once or twice a week, while walking/playing with my dog. I am still wearing regular running/cross training shoes.

Three weeks ago I started the Couch Potato to 5k program and this week I started to get shin pain during my runs. The pain does not continue once I'm done running, so I'm still optimistic at this point...perhaps it's only muscles building and not shin splints? I am running less than 2 miles 3x a week and it's a walk/jog format, so really not much running.

Does anyone have experience with shin splints, specifically with getting rid of them? I have seen posts about barefoot running helping with this sort of problem and am currently walking barefoot (not yet to the point of running). Has anyone found barefoot running to be a solution only to find that, long-term, shin splints returned?

FYI: My goal is to run 3 miles a couple times a week as a type of meditation/mood lifter. I'm not looking to run marathons.

27b7a8c8af63626646f29e343ff26adc

on February 26, 2014
at 05:47 AM

I got bad shin splints back in high school when I joined the tennis team. The sport wasn't that complicated so our coach had us run to burn up time. They hurt like crazy especially when I ran. A friend told me to wrap my legs with ACE bandages and just wrap them tight. I didn't believe it would work but it worked super fast and I was back to running in no time! I haven't struggled with shin splints since. You might try that :)

229faa9f9cb551cbf9d1d766b84cf8f5

(112)

on August 12, 2013
at 04:20 AM

This is terrible advice. You can easily midfoot strike in any shoe so long as the heel isn't incredibly huge (basically all newer running shoes fit this bill now). Switching immediately to barefoot style running can result in injury, especially to the posterior tibial tendon and other ankle/arch stabilizing tissues. Just because you read on a blog that Vibrams make you invincible does not mean you can undo years of compensated running. Form is key. Fix the form and muscular imbalances before running out to injure yourself.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on December 09, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I just saw that recently and I've been doing these! (not 100 at a time, lol)

Dc5144de5078c44a2b106ff25778fd3d

(308)

on December 09, 2011
at 08:15 PM

New Balance makes a couple of good minimalist shoes that I've been running with. They also look pretty conventional, which is nice.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 18, 2011
at 12:28 PM

Great tips, thanks! I usually run in the mornings pretty soon after I wake up and after walking for ~5 minutes. I have heard about foam rolling, but I've never done it. I will look into it! 8)

C3edabc6267abec9b5f8178e5d73552c

(725)

on July 15, 2011
at 06:41 PM

one of the main causes of shin splints is tight calves. Stretch out your calves, or even better foam roll the hell out of your calves. Ideally pre-run but also all the time. You will instantly notice an improvement. Foam rolling your shins also helps. Finally, you wan't to avoid running on swollen feet/legs. If you have binged recently or been sitting down at work all day, or have blood/water pooled in your legs for any other reason, you will be more susceptible to shin splints. A dynamic warmup and/or elevating your legs can help with this.

Medium avatar

(310)

on July 15, 2011
at 04:11 PM

I just do them once in the morning. I'm not sure the time of day matters because the idea is, as JCB indicated, to strengthen the shin muscles and balance out the work your lower legs do between the calf muscles and the shin muscles. Unless you're doing some serious running, I think you'll be fine with once a day. Even five minutes of the toe pull can be really uncomfortable because you work the shin muscle so intensely.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I wish you the best of luck! They suck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:21 PM

I've tried ice, too, and also didn't get much relief. I used to wrap my legs in ace bandages. Keeping my calves tight against my legs offered the best relief, but I definitely do not want to get in that situation again. Thanks for your insight!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:19 PM

"In fact, if all you do is run, you might have to ALWAYS do toe raises." Are there exercises that counteract this imbalance? I am adding toe raises, but am interested in other ways to strengthen my legs.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:13 AM

make that 5-6 months, lol, glad I stopped back by this thread

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Yup, toe pulls to strengthen the shin muscles were how I fixed mine too along w/ice cube massage for the inflammation. Not too sure about that particular video tho ...

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on July 14, 2011
at 09:04 PM

Ive been using them for about 56 months now, and I run about 10 miles a week, plus using them as everyday athletic shoes.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Thanks so much!

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:46 PM

About a 16 months. Like you, I did the C25K and only run about 3 miles at a time to clear my mind and lift my mood. It works wonders!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:38 PM

That's awesome! I am interested in strengthening my feet because many women in my family have foot issues. How long have you been wearing Vibrams?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I've pretty much eliminated heel strike that I'm aware of, but it's possible my running shoes are cushioning any mis-steps. How long have you been using minimalist shoes?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Thanks! When do you do these? Before or after a run, or just throughout the day?

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14 Answers

best answer

4
6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on July 15, 2011
at 12:56 AM

If you're wearing running shoes, that means that you're still striking incorrectly. When jogging, you should MIDSTRIKE, which means that your forefoot hits first and then your heel VERY shortly afterward. This is physically impossible with a pair of running shoes simply because the heel would hit first with that motion (i.e., you would heelstrike).

So get a pair of Vibrams or start running barefoot, then learn to midstrike, and all your problems will be gone. You might get some soreness and stabbing pains around your foot and ankle and you might also find your calves etc lacking in endurance, but that should predictably go away each time and eventually not be an issue once you're fully adjusted to midstrike running.

You did say that you forefoot strike though, so maybe you're already well enough adjusted to this sort of movement to be fine. Either way, remember that it's PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to jog correctly with a pair of running shoes because it's PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to midstrike. Barefoot or in a pair of Vibrams: walking is heelstriking, jogging is midstriking, and sprinting is toestriking. With a pair of running shoes: there's no middle option.

Also you can compensate in the short term by doing toe raises, as I think somebody already mentioned. They will help strengthen your shin muscles and fix the problem. In fact, if all you do is run, you might have to ALWAYS do toe raises. Shin splints are partially caused by an imbalance between the calf muscle and shin muscle. The calf overpowers the shin. Doing shin raises fixes that imbalance and fixes the shin splints. Of course a lot of the problem is the heelstriking though, so just toe raises might be inadequate if you still heelstrike (which you say you don't, but some reading might).

Running shoes are so insidious because they actually make it physically impossible to run with the right form. They're self-compensators because they force you to run/jog wrong (heelstrike instead of midstrike), which causes problems, and then attempts to fix those problems by giving you "support". Just another stupid self-compensator. The modern world is mired in them. (Shampoo is another example of a self-compensator.)

Conclusion: Get a pair of Vibrams (or go barefoot) and start midstriking when you jog. Also add toe raises and see if they help.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:19 PM

"In fact, if all you do is run, you might have to ALWAYS do toe raises." Are there exercises that counteract this imbalance? I am adding toe raises, but am interested in other ways to strengthen my legs.

229faa9f9cb551cbf9d1d766b84cf8f5

(112)

on August 12, 2013
at 04:20 AM

This is terrible advice. You can easily midfoot strike in any shoe so long as the heel isn't incredibly huge (basically all newer running shoes fit this bill now). Switching immediately to barefoot style running can result in injury, especially to the posterior tibial tendon and other ankle/arch stabilizing tissues. Just because you read on a blog that Vibrams make you invincible does not mean you can undo years of compensated running. Form is key. Fix the form and muscular imbalances before running out to injure yourself.

4
Medium avatar

on July 14, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Hi there. I definitely have experience with shin splints and I've been able to avoid them altogether by doing toe pulls for 5 minutes a day.

Have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hafXc1THHiI

Happy running!

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on July 14, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Yup, toe pulls to strengthen the shin muscles were how I fixed mine too along w/ice cube massage for the inflammation. Not too sure about that particular video tho ...

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Thanks! When do you do these? Before or after a run, or just throughout the day?

Medium avatar

(310)

on July 15, 2011
at 04:11 PM

I just do them once in the morning. I'm not sure the time of day matters because the idea is, as JCB indicated, to strengthen the shin muscles and balance out the work your lower legs do between the calf muscles and the shin muscles. Unless you're doing some serious running, I think you'll be fine with once a day. Even five minutes of the toe pull can be really uncomfortable because you work the shin muscle so intensely.

3
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on July 14, 2011
at 08:29 PM

For me, eliminating heel strike was what really did it for me. However, I will say that to get myself to really do it, it took getting a pair of minimalist (barefoot) shoes. With a pair of normal runningshoes, all the padding in the heel made it actually hard to get my foot in the right place without landing on the heel firtst. Now, without all that stuff in the way, my foot lands how its supposed to, and if it doesnt there is so little padding that I really feel it and change gait right away.

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on July 14, 2011
at 09:04 PM

Ive been using them for about 56 months now, and I run about 10 miles a week, plus using them as everyday athletic shoes.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:37 PM

I've pretty much eliminated heel strike that I'm aware of, but it's possible my running shoes are cushioning any mis-steps. How long have you been using minimalist shoes?

Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

(4286)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:13 AM

make that 5-6 months, lol, glad I stopped back by this thread

Dc5144de5078c44a2b106ff25778fd3d

(308)

on December 09, 2011
at 08:15 PM

New Balance makes a couple of good minimalist shoes that I've been running with. They also look pretty conventional, which is nice.

2
9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

on July 14, 2011
at 08:31 PM

I used to get shin splints when I still wore running shoes and didn't pay attention to my foot strike. I tossed out the shoes for Vibrams (or barefoot) and now it's virtually impossible to heel strike. The shin splints are completely gone. I also reversed my bunion pain and sciatica and my feet are more toned and happy in general.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:38 PM

That's awesome! I am interested in strengthening my feet because many women in my family have foot issues. How long have you been wearing Vibrams?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:51 PM

Thanks so much!

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on July 14, 2011
at 08:46 PM

About a 16 months. Like you, I did the C25K and only run about 3 miles at a time to clear my mind and lift my mood. It works wonders!

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 15, 2011
at 05:24 PM

I used to run about 10-11 miles per week, and when I was getting in shape and sometimes after a gap when I didn't run, I'd get shin splints.

Something that is obvious but which I overlooked is your running shoes. Once they start to get worn out, or if they weren't very good to begin with, you put more pressure on your legs. If your shoes might be worn out, get new ones. Usually when I get new shoes, I have no shin splits for at least a couple of weeks.

I don't do a lot of stretching before runs, but I do make sure the blood is flowing around my legs, especially the muscles in the front of my lower legs, i.e. near the shins. This means stretching those muscles, and then doing some jumps (jump high and bring your knees to your chest), a little bit of lateral motions. Then I run 0.25 mile at medium speed, stop for a few minutes, and then run.

Going full Paleo really helped a lot too. This helped with a variety of muscle aches, everything from shin splints to aches around my neck and shoulders, to tight hamstrings. I used to have to stretch really good once a week or so or my muscles would get all tight and cranky, but no more. I think I was suffering from some low-level inflammation from the non-Paleo diet.

1
922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on July 15, 2011
at 12:52 PM

I ran cross country in high school and started running again two years ago.

In high school myself and another teammate were constantly in pool workouts for shin splints. I'd be fine and then would aggravate them between races and speed drills on the track, not to mention 2-a-days once the season was further along. This went on for 3 years. Painful.

Since resuming running again but in VFFs, no shin splints. Ever. And looking back on it, when we would do barefoot cool-downs in high school I always felt great.

Based on personal experience, it's all in the form and switching from heel striking.

I did run a very wet and cold race last December in regular running shoes as my feet would've been ice cubes in my fivefingers, but I paid very close attention to how I was running to avoid any possibility of shin splints.

As for treating the shin splints, rest is what worked best for me. I tried the whole making and using ice cubes in bathroom cups for those years, I never felt any relief, just cold.

922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I wish you the best of luck! They suck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on July 15, 2011
at 01:21 PM

I've tried ice, too, and also didn't get much relief. I used to wrap my legs in ace bandages. Keeping my calves tight against my legs offered the best relief, but I definitely do not want to get in that situation again. Thanks for your insight!

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 14, 2011
at 11:30 PM

I second the others- after switching to VFFs, no more shin pain for me! Now I hate running a lot less.

0
3966119f28897cda79dc77838198cec7

(0)

on February 26, 2014
at 12:34 AM

I've only had shin splints once and I actually got the condition from running barefoot. My only suggestions are rest and an infrared hand-held heater on the shin. Not very paleo to use a tech gadget to heal a wound but the far infrared light does help heal.

0
D811227d9b188ced70016dac95252a0a

on February 25, 2014
at 08:09 PM

I have experience with shin splints

u can see this

http://fatloss4ever.com/how-to-stretch-shin-muscles/

0
D811227d9b188ced70016dac95252a0a

on February 25, 2014
at 08:08 PM

I have experience with shin splints and muscles

http://fatloss4ever.com/how-to-stretch-shin-muscles/

0
051caec6d50559bb23b25108bb9d08d9

on August 12, 2013
at 03:48 AM

I started running in 6th grade on the track team.Anyway during the championship meet on my first year,I was doing long jump and then after I jumped and left I noticed my leg was hurting and I had to run a 800meter the very next day,I thought the pain stopped but after just one lap my leg started hurting again and that's when I realized something was wrong.Like a shin splint it hurt my knee to my ankle.I couldn't run at all without about to falling over on my face.I couldn't play basketball,get ready for track at all.So about 4 weeks after what happened I started putting a heat pack on then 5 weeks later the pain stopped.After that I had to teach myself how to run a 800 again,but in the process I taught myself how to run relays too.Today I am one of the top 800 and relay runners at our school.

0
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 09, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Whatever you do, don't switch to VFF and barefoot whole hog. You need to ease into it. Form is essential for preventing injury. check out this video on the NYT featuring the author of "Born to Run" Christopher McDougall on the "100-up" technique for "foolproof running technique"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on December 09, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I just saw that recently and I've been doing these! (not 100 at a time, lol)

0
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on December 09, 2011
at 08:21 PM

Avoidance is key -- I didn't always stretch as often or effectively as I could and got shin splints, hurt ankles, etc. I'll throw in the only thing I don't see addressed above --Tiger Balm worked for me.

Also, admittedly counter to the barefoot people I did have to use actual running shoes (I like Asics) and because of my flat flat feet, I did better running on hard surfaces. Any time I ran over natural terrain (i.e. through parks) I suffered after, no matter what stretches or warmups.

0
Ae274412bcc0c2c2c312c61810280ef8

on December 09, 2011
at 08:07 PM

I tried a natural product patch called imbue. All of the stretching and recommended exercises helped me. However, what really got rid of this pain for me and allowed me to get going was the Imbue Patch. Might be worth a try for you. They are at http://imbuebody.com/

Good Luck!

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