Shin Splints. They suck a big fat one. I struggled with them last season trying everything I could think of to rid myself of them. The cure is always an ongoing discussion and a common question on the Spartan Chick Facebook page. A Google search will tell you to stretch and show several stretches. Unfortunately, no specific routine is given. I tried going to the free clinic at the Running Spot, but the PT simply gave me a sheet with stretches with no instruction.
Trying to figure out a solution is timely and sometimes costly. It cost me a foot injury that I'm still dealing with when I decided to wear my minimalist shoes to work for two weeks. I now have a foot that basically ceases up a mile or two in a run. More on that in a bit. After, injuring my foot from my minimalists, I finally set up an appointment with a podiatrist. She recommend Physical Therapy and also sent me home with a boot to stretch my feet with for about 10-15 minutes a day.
The Physical Therapy session was the best thing I could have done for myself. Did she give me a quick fix miracle cure? No. She laid out a plan and explained why I was having shin woes. She had me do a few different things to examine my feet. The most interesting and revealing was when she had me lay on a table stomach down with my hanging off. Most people's feet would dangle down, but my feet were pointing straight out. That's how tight my calves were. That was my issue. She asked if I was a dancer. I laughed and explained that I was a trail runner and struck on my forefoot. All the work with my calves without the extra attention to stretching caused them to tighten up. She explained using the name of the muscles that I do no remember, that basically the muscles in my calves work with the muscles in my shins which work with my Plantar Fascia. All the areas I was having troubles.
She went through a stretching routine and recommended that I do it in the morning and evening. I could expect results in about 2 weeks. Best part was I could continue to run unless my foot was troubling me.
30 Seconds x 2 Straight Leg
30 Seconds x 2 Bent Leg
Complete entirely on one leg before doing stretching other leg. I use a Yoga Belt bought from Target.
The next stretch uses a Rubber band she gave me. I'm sure they can be ordered off the Internet. The movement is diagonally towards you and out focusing on leading with the pinky toe. Start with 25 with a goal of getting up to 50 per foot. She said this induced blood circulation in my shins to help with the healing.
Finally, the old tennis ball or frozen ice bottle trick. Simply roll each foot for 3-5 minutes. I personally prefer rolling with a tennis ball because I feel like it gets all the nooks and crannies.
That's it. Its time consuming but worth it. I ran tonight without shin splints.
As far as my little foot injury, I have tried all sorts of stuff. It happened right as I was transitioning from a job where I wore gym shoes to a job where I had to wear dress shoes. I believe if I was still wearing gym shoes everyday, the foot injury would be healed by now. That being said, I mixed it up quite a bit trying to get it to heal. I tried wearing my flats which did not work. They are too
minimalist. I tried heels only. Again, no luck. A vacation on the beach did not help. The sand certainly caused some stress. Tonight, I went to the mall and bought a couple pairs of old lady shoes that have no heel but lots of support and stability. Its function over fashion. I found them at Clark's with the help of the best sales associate ever who dug them out of the backroom. They weren't even on display, but knowing my wide foot, narrow heel, hurting foot woes, she found the perfect pair. I'm hoping the extra support for 8 hours a day, will get me happily on my way to Ultra Marathon training. Fingers Crossed!