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Shin Splints S.O.S.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Please help my poor shins! It’s been years since I ran so much and forgot to take care so as NOT to get shin splints. :(

Atlanta, Georgia

Kymberly: Last time I got a plea like this it involved Nigeria and sending money to a dethroned prince. I am prepared to send you good advice at half the price. Yes, for a definition of shin splints, causes, and treatments, check out the links we suggest. Then send money to me, but preferably more than the dollar or two you stashed in your running shoes.

Alexandra: I’ll give you free advice if you promise to make sense of the complete lyrics to Ice Ice Baby. It would seem you increased the duration a wee bit too enthusiastically (and maybe overpronated).
1. Ice the shin.
2. When your shins feel better (not while you are still in pain), strengthen the muscle (anterior tibialis). You can do this with toe (up) taps. By this I mean, don’t focus on tapping your toes on the floor; focus on lifting the toes up. This will hurt a lot if you do it before you are feeling better. For expert tapping hints, have Savion Glover come over and make-out with help you.
3. Get some inserts for your shoes, especially if you’re going to be the bad girl of fitness and run before you’re all healed. And consider new shoes

as yours may be worn out and no longer supporting your foot, ankle, leg and high sense of fashion.
4. Become at one with the simple word “stretch.” As in, “Oh, I just ran for 72 miles (or 2 – but it would feel like 72 to me). Maybe now I should stretch out my shins by pointing my toe and holding for at least 15 seconds.”

K: 5. Stretch your calf – the muscle buddy to your shin (aka agonist and antagonist muscle pair in high-falootin’ circles.) A lot of shin splint trauma comes from an imbalance between the strong, tight, shortened, strong, bossy Alexandra calf and the comparably petite, underloved, underdeveloped, underworked, weak anterior tib. Reduce the pull on the shin from the calf by lengthening the calf with mucho stretching.
If you run again–and we hope you do, someone has to–try to stay on surfaces that absorb impact, such as asphalt, tracks, grass, cardio equipment. Avoid surfaces that have no springback or cushion such as CONCRETE. Translation – sidewalks! Even the best shoes and strongest shins cannot overcome the jarring effect of concrete pounding. Even the strongest of twins cannot overcome the jarring effects of my sister whining when she has to run (for cover).

Readers: What are your tricks to prevent or cure shin splints? Are you secretly harboring any Vanilla Ice recordings?

Photo credits: Creative Commons and Photobucket

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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13 Responses to Shin Splints S.O.S.

  1. Dale September 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    I found high top shoes help control my pronation better then anything else. It was quite by accident I found this out. Someone left high top work boots at my house and I needed boots to dig a hole so I used them and at the end of the day my shins did not hurt. I now use high top running shoes, an icing gel(BioFreeze), ice, and stretches.

  2. Santa Barbara Jeweler September 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    Just the cutest shots of women running ever! Thank you for the laugh and the great information.

  3. Bill Buyok September 7, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Once again, great advise from the Wise Women of Fitness. And, I love the photo (the one where all the women are running in dresses). Question: How often do recommend getting new running shoes?

    • Alexandra September 7, 2010 at 11:44 am #

      Hi Bill: I am wise; my sister is wise-ass-ish! A technical description, but one you can figure out anyway. It depends on how often you run and how hard you are on your shoes, but most experts agree that the maximum fitness shoe age is six months. By the time they look worn, it’s too late. How often do you run and on what surfaces? And do you walk on water?

      • Bill Buyok September 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

        Alexandra – Thanks for the prompt reply and useful information! I have heard anywhere from six months to one year for fitness shoe replacement.

        My fitness plan includes about 3x 30 min workouts a week. One of those will usually be a jog from my house on cement sidewalks or a dirt running track outside. The other two are usually in a gym on a treadmill or elliptical trainer.

        And, yes I do walk on water; but, only in the minds of my followers (on twitter).

        • Alexandra September 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

          One year at 3 X per week? No no no, you bad boy heading for pain. Go for the six-month max. Happy to hear you walk on water. You can save money on shoes. And I am one of your Twitter followers and do not have that mind opinion.

          • Bill Buyok September 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

            I do appreciate your wise fitness guidance based on on my routine. I promise to be more diligent with my shoe replacement.

            Even if you don’t agree that I walk water, my feet will be much happier and so will I.

  4. Brian Meeks September 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I give you both high marks for your use of cross out! Brilliant. I am not sure how you do it, but I am sure it is some sort of html witch craft. You will have to teach me. :-)

    • Alexandra September 7, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      I’m not sure what program you have, but you can do a help search for strikethrough. No magic I’m afraid. The only thing magical thing about us is Kymberly Alexandra!

  5. Katalog October 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Reading this I believed it was incredibly enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short article along. Just as before I find myself shelling out way too enough time both browsing and writing comments. Although so what, ?t had been even now significant!

  6. Keith March 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    No Vanilla Ice recordings here!
    Keith recently posted..The End of Shin Splints Symptoms?My Profile


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