Shin Splints...

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by sanitarium, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. sanitarium

    sanitarium Rookie

    Mar 17, 2004
    Due to increased amounts of basketball and running I have developed shin splints for the first time in my life and it's annoying as hell.

    I have a tournament over easter for tennis, I need some ideas on how to heal properly besides rest while still maintaining a decent stamina without running... please help
  2. canady10

    canady10 New User

    Mar 10, 2004
    Well i just had knee surgery about 3 months ago, and as i was rehabing a developed some horrible shin splints. What the physical therapist told me to do was when i walk to kinda of push more out with my toes, to stretch it. Its looks dumb but it really helped.
  3. bruce nissenbaum

    bruce nissenbaum Rookie

    Feb 18, 2004
    'Shin splints' is really a catch-all phrase for a variety of diffuse discomforts affecting the front of the lower leg, usually the result of an imbalance between the bigger, stronger calf muscles and the thinner, often less well developed shin muscles that causes an overstretch of the shin muscles when the calf muscles contract. Sometimes, 'shin splints' are evidenced as localized pain or 'point tenderness' more indicative of a possible stress fracture than a muscle/tendon problem. The key here is to distinguish between diffuse discomfort and localized pain.

    If either case, I would recommend 15-20 minutes, two-three times daily ice message beginning at lowest point of leg, moving toward the knee. In the former case, exercises and anti-inflams can help; a doctor might recommend otherwise for the latter until the point tenderness or pain have subsided.

    If you are not allergic and don't have any other contra-indications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can be helpful in controlling discomfort; aspirin or other analgesic might be useful for pain. But I would strongly urge getting a doctors advice before taking any medication.

    When the discomfort flare-up lessens and there is no evidence of black and blue or swelling, work on strengthening and stretching the shins muscles as well as the calves.

    I would not do anything if there is pain. Ice and rest only in that case.

    For the discomfort scenario, if there is no black and blue or swelling, use MOIST heat to gently warm the shins. Then try two easy shins stretches:

    1-sit on your heels, resting on top of your foot with with toes pointed away from you. If you feel this in the shins, undo the stretch after 10-15 secs; if you don't feel the stretch, lean back on your heels very slowly/gently until you do feel the stretch, hold 15-20 secs and relax.

    2-in standing position, place one leg behind your body, extend the toes trying to place top of big toe touchng the floor. Pull gently against your big toe to stretch shins muscles and gently rotate your foot outward and inward for range of motion.

    3-Ice after completion as mentioned above.

    There are many calf and achilles tendon stretches and strengtheners to choose from. Feel free to email me ( if you need some.

    Probably most difficult muscles to strengthen are the shins. Various varieties of toe pulls can get it done. But I wouldn't work on this if there were any black and blue or swelling present.

    If discomfort level is low and there is no evidence of bruising along the shin area (no black and blue or swelling to be seen) use MOIST heat to gently warm the shins. Using a long exercise rubber band (or a length of commercial scrap rubber band), anchor or have someone hold one end. Sit on the floor or on a chair, extend leg to be exercised, slip band over toes and pull rubber band using TOES ONLY against the anchored resistance. # reps based on intensity of feeling in the shins area. Do stretches mentioned above after the strengthinging exercise, then ICE message for 15-20 minutes as mentioned.

    Shin splints can heal very quickly or linger for what may seem like forever. Try not to get frustrated if they persist. You may be able to play the tournament with them, followed by a lot of ice and some anti-inflams.

    However, if localized pain or 'point tenderness' is evident I would not chance activity. Stress fractures (microscopic separation of bone tissue fibers) may be detectable by MRI or similar technology but, as I understand, cannot be confirmed until after they heal, when the calcium replacement can be viewed in X-ray. So, if you have any doubts about your ability to distinguish discomfort from pain, I strongly recommend you see a reputable sports medicine orthopedist for a diagnosis and recommended therapy.

    To maintain stamina while you heal:

    1- try riding stationary or outdoor bike without using toe pressure to peddle; or

    2-if you have access to swimming pool, swim or wear a flotation vest and 'pool-jog.'

    Best wishes for quick healing and good luck in your tournament.
  4. sanitarium

    sanitarium Rookie

    Mar 17, 2004
    bruce, thank you very much.

    Seirously a lot of effort went into that post and I appreciate your ideas and concern, thanks.

    I'll try those stretches out.
  5. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    Bruce has great advice. If you are healthy and wish to prevent onset or recurrence of shin splints, do some lifts with your toes/insteps flexing upward toward the shins. I've found one good way of doing this is to use the machine many gyms have that is designed for hamstring curls, i.e. lying prone and lifting the weight mechanism up toward your buttocks. Reverse your position, sit up facing the pads, and place your feet/ankles under the pads and lift by flexing the feet and raising the weight using your shin muscles.
  6. YEMntFtb

    YEMntFtb Rookie

    Apr 13, 2004
    shin splints are a huge pain, and they could be caused from flat feet - I had really bad shin splints, to the point were they hurt all the time, so bad that I couldnt sleep at night - I got inserts for my tennis shoes, which helped a lot, If you get them i recommend you do not do to many jumping exercises, this inflamed mine quite badly, an exercises like jumping forward and backwards over a cone would do this. Ice a lot, if they hurt bad dont use them, they can develope into stress fractures which I got, and this is not pretty...
  7. Slava

    Slava New User

    Feb 22, 2004
    I used to get shin splints pretty bad myself. The things that really helped me were: 1) Exercises to strengthen muscles in the front of the leg (I use a something called the Dynamic Axial Resistance Device, works great) 2) Using non-impact ways to do cardio training (I use the elliptical machine) 3) Stretching after playing 4) I cut out calf exercises from my lifting program. Hope this helps.

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