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by Rick Becker email@example.com. One of the most common injuries that are experienced in Track and Cross-Country is know as shin splints. As a high school runner I constantly suffered from them. My races and workouts were always curtailed. I was only able to do half of the workouts and races. My junior year in cross-country was a difficult year. I suffered from shin splints the entire season. After the state meet, barely able to walk, I went to my family doctor. He told me that I would never be able to be a runner because of the difficulties that I experienced with shin splints. In my junior year of track I started the season suffering again from shin splints. After two weeks into the season my coach told me to turn in my uniform thinking there was no point in training. Unfortunately I had a coach that knew very little about shin splints. I missed a lot of running in high school that could have been avoided. Shin splints can be treated and better yet avoided.
What Are They
Shin splints is a common term used for a half a dozen lower leg problems ranging from nerve irritations to tendonitis to stress fractures. The most common type that is experienced involves the tearing away of the muscle tissue that attaches to the front of the lower leg. The beginner runner and the runner that resumes training after a long lay off are most susceptible to this injury. The connective sheath attached to the muscles and bone of the lower leg become irritated, resulting in a razorsharp pain in the lower leg along the inside of the tibia or shin bone. Shin splints can be felt anywhere from just below the knee down to the ankle. The pain may diminish after warming up but then returns a few minutes after the completion of a workout.
How Are They Caused
There can be several causes for shin splints. Only when possible causes are identified can shin splints be eliminated. Possible causes include: · · · · · · · · Tight Achilles and calf muscles. An inexperienced runner just beginning to run. Running on uneven terrain. A sudden increase in faster running (speed work). A sudden change from soft to hard running surfaces. Running in worn down shoes. Excessive uphill running. Poor running mechanics which include excessive forward lean, excessive weight on the ball of the foot, running with toes pointed outward, landing too far back on the heels causing the foot to flap down, and overpronation. There is a drill that I do with my runners at Selah High School called silent running. I have them run on the track as quiet as possible. With the feet landing properly very little noise should be heard. Of all of the possible causes, pronation is the most likely to be overlooked, as it was for me in high school.
It’s not what the foot does when it lands that causes difficulties; it’s what the foot does after it lands that causes problems. Excessive overpronation is a major cause for shin splints. Pronation is the motion of the foot once it lands. For most people the outside of the heel touches first and then the foot rolls inward. The amount of inward rotation should be between 4-6 %. Too flat of a foot or too high of an arch can bring on a number of leg and knee injuries. Once the foot lands it flattens out, and the ankle rolls inward or pronates. The tibia (shinbone) is forced to twist slightly in the opposite or outside direction,
If the heel tilts inward during running or if shoes appear distorted after you take them off with the heels tilted inward. Again too high of an arch or too flat of a foot can lead to numerous problems such as shin. Overpronation and underpronation of the heels. arch and all. you have flat feet. When you step dripping from the shower. Research shows that females are more likely to suffer from shin splints than males because their hips. on the average. hardly rolls inward. Because of the wider hips. For the milder. If the heel counters are broken down toward the inside. with a moderate amount of arch. stand normally. are wider than mens. moderate pronation occurs. In other words. To check your arches. give yourself the wet test (see photo on next page). a women’s foot strike the ground at a greater angle resulting in overpronation. knee.stretching on the calf muscles. Underpronation is the action of the foot. in . 4-6 % pronation is ok. Wet Test Treatment In many cases one is able to continue training with a mild case of shin splints. If what shows up is mostly ball and heel . Too much twisting can lead to a stress fracture of the tibia. This person usually has a very high arch. In such cases rest and ice would be needed to decrease inflammation. If you leave an impression of your whole foot. If your footprint shows something in between the two extremes. then step away and check your footprints. yet painful cases. Time off from running may be required in severe cases. The flatter the arch the more support is needed. hip and foot injuries. your arches are high. once it lands. too flat of a foot results in the foot rolling inward too much transferring much of the pounding into the inner portion of the lower leg resulting in shin splints. More or less will lead to problems. you’re blessed with a normal foot that shouldn’t cause you any problems. severe overpronation occurs. As stated.
This will help loosen up the area as well as providing comfort but will not solve the problem. Normally. Once the workout is completed and after a good cool down. Treatment in summary: · · · · · · · Anti-inflammatory medications. Just before practice the affected area should be heated up. even if it is reduced. ice the affected area as soon as possible for 20 minutes. The use of hot towels. a matter you are trying to correct. Stretching Running on soft even surfaces. Ice treatments after practice. certain treatment methods must be followed through. A friction massage using the thumbs may prove to be beneficial. Heat treatments prior to practice. Proper shoes. There are several preventative measures that should be practiced by every runner on every team. Plastic cups filled with water and placed in the freezer as well as baggies of ice work well. Discovering the cause is the first step in treating an injury. Prevention The best way to deal with shin splints is to do what it takes to prevent them in the first place. Firmly rub the affected area from the bottom of the leg upward. Anti-inflammatory medications such as I-B Propfin should be taken one hour before starting practice. Purchasing the proper shoe for your foot is the first step in . Stretching prior to running will be beneficial. Training on soft surfaces will help alleviate excessive pounding.which running can be maintained. continued running. will help get rid of shin splints as running will help strengthen leg muscles. Precaution should be made to running on uneven surfaces which could result in increased foot motion. Taping of the arch. The changing of shoe may be necessary as well. Tapping the arch. heat pack or whirlpool for 15-20 minutes should do the trick.
A firm shoe with lots of supports.preventing shin splints. Knowing whether you are an overpronator or underpronator is very important. For the underpronator motion of the foot is limited. and then after flattening out the foot. who currently holds the Washington State High School Records for the 1600 and 3200 meter runs and went on to break the world’s record in the 10. The point is that several minutes of easy running followed by more stretching should be performed after every workout. or a pair of anti-pronators in which you could receive through a podiatrist may do the trick. Special attention should be paid to proper mechanics including running with the toes straight ahead. return for more extensive stretching and drills followed by build-up sprints. Something to keep in mind is that the more cushioned the shoe the less stability the shoe will have. and are much more inexpensive than orthotics. looking for some answers to my shin splint problem. roll off of the toes. I had heard he suffered from shin splints on occasion (I later had the opportunity to train with him while he lived in Tacoma). A “board-lasted” shoe. If there is no stitching between the inside and bottom of the shoe it is board lasted. To tell if a shoe is board-lasted. pull out the insole. This construction is easy to spot since the midsole will usually come in different colors. He wrote back and told me that as soon as he finished a race his coach would make him run a lap cool down before he was allowed to stop. As mentioned earlier a good warm up is important to help prevent injuries. It should be a cushioned shoe with a soft midsole. Warming up and cooling down. Sometimes just a good pair of inserts found at a drug store to fit in the shoes. Stretching Exercises · Kneeling position.000 meters while at Washington State University. Shortly after high school. spend a couple of minutes stretching. I have my athletes jog easy for a few minutes. the runner points his toes out behind and gently sits back on heels pressing the tops of the feet towards . Dual density midsole with the firmer material on the inside edge. I wrote a personal letter to Jerry Lindgren. Depending on the amount of pronation a runner may have will determine whether or not they would benefit from orthotics. In any case though a good arch support will be needed. A firm shoe with lots of support preventing excessive motion is needed for those who overpronate. Actually I think his coach was teaching him to run a victory lap as he would run many in the years to follow. The wet test will determine this. more running (up to a mile). A rear-heel area made of solid rubber. Shoe Features Below are features of a shoe for an overpronator. · · · · · Rigid plastic collar that wraps around the shoe heel for support and to control excess pronation. landing slightly on the outside of the heels first. the extra strip of material that is inside the shoe. The type of shoe needed would be one that is flexible. When doing an interval workout. jogging between repetitions will help eliminate the tightening up of the leg muscles. the more common runner type for shin splints recipients.
using only the toes. Because research shows that your muscles are more elastic after they’ve been warmed up. Sitting on a table or chair attach a weight (a bucket filled with rocks works well) around the foot. Walking down steep hills. Repeat with right ankle on the left knee. One of the most effective ways to eliminate shin splints is to do some type of running in the off season. stretching should take place after a good warm-up as well as at the end of the workout. keep feet and knees straight. Same position as above. Pick up marbles using the toes. Off-season training. using leg muscles. Without bending your knee move the foot up and down from the ankle. Walking with feet turned inward and outward. Anchor one end of an elastic band to the leg of a table or sofa. An increase in mileage should never exceed more than 10% per week. Prevention in summary: · · · Proper Shoes Warming up and cooling down. Walking on heels. apply pressure to outside of foot (near small toe) with hand. and turn foot down and out using leg muscles. lean forward as far as possible. apply pressure to inside of foot (near large toe) with hand. Standing with feet flat. With socks off. Standing arm’s length from the wall. I have athletes do this exercise during the school day while sitting at their desk. have them lift their toes up. Same position as above. While standing erect raise up and down onto your toes several times. Draw each letter of the alphabet with the big toe of each foot in the air. Move the foot up and down and side to side against the bands resistance. Sitting with left ankle on right knee. bend knees forward as far as possible keeping heels on floor. With resistance on their toes. and then loop it around the end of the foot. apply pressure to top of foot (near toes) with hand. and turn foot up and in. place hands on wall. Stretching . Walking on toes. Stretch the band. and lift foot using leg muscles. gather up a towel that is flat on the floor. If that is too easy you can make it more challenging by performing the same exercise while standing on a step and allow your calves to stretch over the edge of the step. In a sitting position lower and raise the feet with the heels on the ground as high and quickly as possible for 60 seconds.· · the ground. Strengthening Exercises · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · With a partner hold down the others feet which are flat on the ground.
. In almost all cases shin splints can be treated or better yet avoided through preventative measures. but I would like to especially acknowledge Runners World Publications for many articles in which I used as resources.· · Strengthening exercises Proper running mechanics Summary Don’t let shin splints get the best of you. Much of the information in this report came from a great variety of sources.
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