My run’s not fun.
Words I tend to hear more of this time of year. It seems that as the sun comes out so do the injuries. Fitness and fun seekers of all ages often report a dull, aching pain in the front of their lower leg from the ankle to the knee. Moving from treadmill to the road, bumping up the km on your run, playing pick-up basketball or longer walks with the stroller... it doesn’t matter where it came from. It’s not fun.
This aching or throbbing pain is called tibial stress syndrome, commonly known as shin splints. Shin splints account for approximately 10-15% of all running related injuries, and up to 60% of all conditions that cause pain in the legs of athletes. You could feel it during activity, after activity, or have constant pain. Either way… It’s not fun.
Shin splints can be caused by a number of factors, and you can have more than one factor at the same time. These include;
· Weakness of the leg muscles
· Shoes that provide little or no support
· Over training
· Running on hard surfaces
· Misalignment of the foot/ankle
· Decreased arch of the foot – “flat feet”
If cutting back and self-treatment doesn’t help, clinical care may be needed. Proper diagnosis with a thorough physical examination including functional analysis is the first step (pardon the pun). This examination would indicate any biomechanical imbalances that may be contributing to the pain.
It is important to modify the athlete’s activity to ensure they maintain cardiovascular fitness during recovery. For an accelerated recovery, the athlete may need icing and stretching or rehab. Of course follow the recommendations provided by your Doctor. Don’t let shin splints keep your fitness fun away.