Advice on shin splints...

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Ooga_booga, Sep 6, 2006.

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  1. Hello everyone, i'm a newbie here so bare with me

    In 4 weeks im starting at HMS raleigh (yes a sailor, i know :) and in my PT preperation for it I've picked up a shin splint. it's not crippling but it's certainally gonna affect my running, although i should pass all the necessary tests.

    However should I tell them about it now, when i arrive or not at all? Is this something i could get discharged medically for? Joining is something i REALLY want to do and my leg shouldd heal just fine.

    Just looking to get some info from people who are/have been part of the navy or military force!



    A seperate question just summat i'd like to know - I applied for the Army before the RN and got refused on medical grounds cos of exzema. What i have is extremely mild, but i put it on the medical form just to be honest, any idea why this is? An army Dr didnt even see me i just got told to try again in 4 years!
  2. Because the scaly white skin bits that you scratch off show up more on green kit than your bell bottoms. Not a good look.
  3. Sooner or later almost all runners experience pain in the calf or shin. There are several types of overuse injuries that may develop in this region as a result of the repeated pounding from running. Shin splints, stress fractures, and chronic compartment syndrome have a common mechanism of development. Understanding the circumstances that lead to these injuries is the key to preventing them.

    The overall recurring theme that leads to overuse running injuries is excess training with inadequate recovery. Excess and inadequate are relative terms and must be judged against one’s usual training routine. The more that excess and inadequate deviate from the usual training routine the less time it takes for an overuse injury to develop. Keeping this theme in mind one can now examine the specifics for how shin splints develop.

    A simplified view of the mechanics of running shows a foot-strike, then a loading/energy transfer phase, and finally a push off (“toe-off”) with the forefoot. Each foot-strike delivers a shockwave that travels up the leg. This energy must be absorbed by the musculoskeletal system. The harder the running surface the greater the shockwave. Soft grass, smooth dirt, asphalt, and concrete represent, in order of increasing “hardness”, the usual spectrum of commonly encountered running surfaces. Concrete is very hard on the body and training on this surface should be avoided.

    Distance running shoes are specifically designed to provide padding and support for the biomechanics of endurance running. They help absorb shock and facilitate efficient energy (motion) transfer. Matching the type of running shoe to the athlete’s specific biomechanics, and proper shoe fit are important. Similarly, worn out shoes should be replaced early because of reduced shock absorbing capacity. Runners with high rigid arches tend to experience greater pounding shock, whereas those with flat feet tend to experience greater fatigue of the muscles that support the foot -- and push-off. Both tend to develop shin splints

    The term shin splints refers to a painful condition that develops along the inside (medial edge) of the shin (tibia). The usual location is along the lower half of the tibia, anywhere from a few inches above the ankle to about half-way up the shin. The repeated running cycle of pounding and push off results in muscle fatigue, which may then lead to higher forces being applied to the fascia, the attachment of fascia to bone, and finally the bone itself. Respectively, this represents a spectrum from mild to severe. On the relatively more severe end of the scale the injury may progress from stress reaction within the bone to an actual stress fracture.

    In the early stage of shin splints a runner will describe a pain that is present when the training run first begins, but then disappears as running continues. The pain will often return after exercise or the following morning. As the injury progresses the athlete will experience more time with the pain, and less time without it. There is frequently a tender zone along the medial edge of the tibia that one can map out by pressing with the fingertips as they “march up” along the bone. Eventually, if ignored and training continued, the pain may become quite sharp and may focus on a very small area of the bone. If this happens a stress fracture should be considered.

    The treatment for shin splints is rest. Depending upon severity it is often necessary to completely stop running for a period of time. Generally this is done until day-to-day activities are pain free. When running is resumed – and this is where many injured runners make a mistake – it must be significantly different from the routine that lead to the injury. The concept of relative rest employs lengthening the interval between training as well as decreasing the volume and intensity of training. One can often substitute cross-training activities (e.g., bicycling) for running to help increase the interval between running days. There should be a graded and gradual increase in run training, keeping an eye out for the return of any shin splint symptoms.

    Stretching and strengthening the calf muscles can help prevent the injury from returning. However the most important preventive strategy is not to repeat the mistakes that lead to the injury. Examine all the training variables – surface, shoes, training volume, intensity, workout type, hills, weather conditions, etc. Seek help from a qualified trainer or coach. This all takes time and effort, but it is well worth it.


    I stand corrected
  4. appologies
  5. I had shin plints 20+ years ago and know how painful it can be. I don't know if the RN will/will not accept. I suggest a little cunning and a little common sense and application. Treat the shin splints as best you can and then join for the cunning bit!

    Treatment: Avoid running over the next 4 weeks if you can, plenty of cardio exercise can be done on gym equipment. If you do run keep off the hard roads and get on to soft ground. Ensure your training shoes are in good nick have a decent tread. If they are well worn then replace. Ice pack shins after excercise, this should reduce any swelling.

    Providing you turn up for basic trg and are fit enough to take part in physical activities but the shin pain remains (now for the cunning, deceitful bit!) you could blame the PT for the shin soreness, you will be part of the system and hopefully treated accordingly. To many this may seem dishonest and a bit weenerish but if you want something bad enough you have to bend the rules a little sometimes.

    And remember, shin splints is not a permanent injury. I've had shin soreness since then but nothing to stop me from running, (I was running up to 170+ miles per week so some soreness here and there is expected), but for the typical amount of PT expected in the military, once you are over it and providing you are sensible with your shoe wear, then shin splints should never return. I wonder if my shin splints were also down to my young age (17) and the fact that I was not used to so much running, especially on the road.
  8. Still, that's some good going...I manage to wheeze out about thirty miles per week and I feel perfectly justified in taking the weekend off!

    The best remedy for overuse injuries for me has always been the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation - rest (or drop the mileage of the runs) for a week, ice pack the area, wrapping your bag of ice in a tea toewel and wrapping that around the injury (to avoid ice burns), this wrapping will also provide compression, and elevate the injury so that it is higher than your heart. Hope it works out.
  9. I find that low-dye taping (Google it), ibuprofen and using either support or motion control shoes works wonders in preventing shin splints. You may want to consider either off the shelf or bespoke orthotics.
  10. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Good advice. But you should also try to substitute another form of aerobic exercise for running so that you maintain fitness, particularly with basic coming up. Swimming and cycling are good, and if you have access to a gym, you could try using a step machine or a cross-trainer which will keep your legs working without the impact load - though certainly go gently at first until you know whether these are aggravating the injury.
  11. This is exactly what I have today. I guess my daily running to prepare for the medical is going to have to become every other daily running, with cycling in between... Sensible?

  14. you've probably got shin splints from running on road/tarmac and this is high impact on lower limbs.
    I remeber someone who played football to a reasonable standard picked up shin splints, went to a specialist was told to keep the shin elevated and rest it.