Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shin splints? Now!?!

It may be psychosomatic, but I have come down with a case a shin splints, or anterior fibialis tendinitis to be more precise. I last tried running on Monday evening; four painful miles. Well, the first two miles weren't that painful, but at the two mile mark things got pretty bad.

The problem started the previous Wed., four days after the Marquette Trail 50. I was out on a night run at our local trail and felt a little pressure on the outside of my left shin. I didn't think anything of it and in fact had completely forgotten about it until the next night, when I was reminded pretty early. I finished the six miles but was limping by the end.

Not having had shin splints before, I was not particularly worried. I thought I would take a couple of days off, and a few ibuprofen now and again, and they would go away on their own. I went out again for four miles on Monday (just hours after posting that I would finish Sawtooth), when the pain returned quickly and I began to panic.

Crap! Less than two weeks before Sawtooth and I can't run four miles? This is when I decided to get aggressive. I began icing and taking 800mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours. Yesterday, I also began searching the internet for advice. Turns out there are a lot of sure thing, quick cures for shin splints on the internets. I'm doing all of them! Stretching my calves, walking on my heels, walking on my toes, rolling out my shins and calves with a foam roller, taping, wearing a compression sock. You name it. I mean that literally. Please name a remedy, and if I'm not already doing it I will try it.

I also saw a physical therapist for the first time ever this morning. The good news is she didn't tell me not to run Sawtooth. She gathered quickly that I wouldn't listen. Instead she did some ultrasound therapy on the affected shin. Does this do anything that a heating pad wouldn't?

I haven't gone to my doctor yet. I would like to get a cortisone shot, but I'm afraid he'll try to tell me that if I try to do this run I may jeopardize my ability to run ever again, blah, blah, blah. I don't want to deal with that.

I'm going to keep up the try everything approach through the rest of the week with no running. I'm OK with not running. I know that there is much more potential harm to be done than any good. I will want to try to run this weekend, just to see how it feels. Probably on the treadmill so I can stop as soon as it gets painful.

The good news is that it doesn't hurt to walk. I know enough about Sawtooth to know that there is more walking than running going on there, especially for those like myself who are more focused on the 38 hour mark than the course record.

I still plan to toe the line next Friday. I'm hoping my new aggressive approach will resolve the problem, or at least abate it enough so that I can get to that point where my entire lower body is hurting so much that one squeaky shin will get lost in the noise.


  1. I've had shin splints (on the inside of the shin, however) and these helped a lot: (especially the heel step-down exercise).

    Wrapping an ace bandage tightly around your shins while going about your day-to-day activities may help. Good luck.

  2. Thanks anon. The heel step down exercise is gold. I've also been wearing a compression sleeve on the offending leg, and it does help.