Dealing with Shin Splints
I have promised a shin splint post for a while and thought it was high time to do something about it!
In February, I hit the track and started intensifying workouts. I didn’t do all of the things you are supposed to do when integrating into track workouts and jumped in with true Jess fashion – full boar.
That is fantastic but the body needs to be eased into a new workout schedule. Adding in some short, faster races and increased intensity and I had a case of shin splints. (Pain in the lower third of the leg along the shin bone). I have had a double stress fracture in the past and I have ZERO time to ever deal with that again so I worked with my coach and the awesome professionals in my life to see if I could calm it down without taking a complete break.
After a couple months of riding the edge, my coach and I decided that I would take a full month off running to heal everything up and make sure I didn’t get injured. I have cautiously returned and am integrating back to a full run schedule just in time for my half ironman but let me tell you, not running SUCKED. But as my acupuncturist wisely said: Not running for 12 weeks sucks even more!
Thankfully, I bounced back to full health quickly, but I was serious about my recovery. What did I do to heal up the pain?
Alternating heat and cold – My massage therapist suggested this one. I would watch an episode of something on netflix with a pail of hot water and cold water, alternating my shin in each bucket and always ending in the cold one to flush the area.
Advil – Most times, I shy away from taking anti-inflammatories, but this is one injury where advil treats the issue rather than masks it by loosening the tight muscles around the bone. Take within the recommended dose.
Acupuncture – This has been a HUGE one for me. I get it as regularly as possible and it loosens up the tight calf muscles.
Staying on top of stretching and athletic therapy – Even at the office
Compression socks – I wear my CEP compression socks for EVERY run, every cycle and anytime I am doing something that causes stress to my calves. It helps keep the muscles tight and helps to heal the area. I swear by them.
701 Pain Plaster –
My massage therapist gave me this stuff. I have NO idea what it is but it is a patch that you place on your area of pain. It increases circulation and it works like a miracle.
If you fail a hop test, STOP – If you can’t jump on one leg without pain, you have no business running. There was one workout where I ran to the track, failed a hop test and walked home. It is just not worth it.
Don’t stress – My acupuncturist firmly informed me to STOP feeling my shin for hot spots. Worrying and irritating the offending area only makes it worse. Do your therapy, see the professionals and relax, you will be back to running before you know it.