You may have read my post Good Day Bad Day about how different one run can be from the next, especially when you are suffering with shin pain, unfortunately for me, this has only got worse!
I’m not one to moan, but I do feel like sharing my experiences in the hope that you lovely readers will provide me with hints/tips to help me through my journey of dealing with shin splints, or take something from the information I share if you suffer too.
As you can imagine I've read many conflicting stories from ‘googling’ my symptoms and I pretty much self diagnosed Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). I eventually booked an appointment to see a Physiotherapist at David Roberts Physiotherapy in Middleton where he confirmed my suspicions. Of course he told me to rest...which I cannot possibly do. I still have 224 miles to go! So after a very painful sports massage I left the clinic feeling slightly more positive. Although I was told this wasn't going to go away overnight, especially (if I didn't rest up), I feel like I now have some help at hand from someone who understands.
I will share with you the advice he gave me:
Stretch – This is more important than you think!
Face a wall and place your foot flat on the floor with your toes about 2 inches from it. Bend your leg forward to touch the wall with your kneecap until you feel the muscle along the inner side of your tibia begin to stretch, and hold. If you don’t feel the stretch, move your toes slightly further from the wall and repeat. Do this with both legs. Not just before and after your run, but anytime you can, to loosen up this muscle; which (from looking at many lovely diagrams) I think is the bottom section of the soleus muscle you can see before it tucks behind the main calf muscle (gastrocnemius muscle) – please correct me if I’m wrong here..
This is the section of muscle that pains me the most when I run. It’s now an immediate pain from my first stride which intensifies as I go until my legs go lead-like and I feel like I'm running flat footed due to the inability to move my foot up and down at the ankle. Not good.
Ice – My new best friend.
As soon as you get back from your run, get out the ice. Be it an ice pack or the frozen peas in a tea towel, it doesn't matter. Get that straight onto the area of pain to reduce the inflammation, leave for 10-15 mins, then remove for 10 mins before repeating... for as long as is required. In fact, my physio has advised me to do this as often as I possibly can – even when I’m not on a run day. Ice is amazing. Ice works. I love ice!
I've never been that worried about my pace or race times but I’m not going to pretend that I’m not bothered about the effect my shin splints have on my speed. I used to run at just under 12 minutes a mile when I first took up the hobby, and I shaved at least a minute off that time. But now, I’m lucky if I finish 2 miles in under 27 minutes.. and as time goes on, I seem to be getting slower. But I will keep going – I will Run/Hobble To Remember PC Hughes and PC Bone, even if I end up crawling by April 4th.
Have you suffered from shin pain? If so...how did you cope??