Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Talk Shin Splints

I may not be running, but I'm definitely suffering from a common running injury - shin splints.  Ugh.

Wikipedia says that shin splints are "a general term used to refer to a painful condition in the shins. It is often caused by running or jumping or sprinting, and may be very slow to heal."  Since I'm not running, I can only assume that the shin splints are caused by all the lovely jumping that Jillian has us do during the Shred.  I had been getting a bit of a twinge in my shins last week, and then when I started level 2 yesterday, the suffering really began.  By my second day of level 2 today, there was no doubt. I had the splints.

So I asked my trusty Twitter network of friends (which includes a lot of runners) what to do, and faster than I could google the symptoms, I got three replies.  All three mentioned ice, which I've never tried for shin splints before and one of them said RICE - rest, ice, compress, elevate.

So I got out my compression socks (LOVE these by the way), put my feet up on another chair by my desk, and got a couple of ice packs for my shins.  Let's hope they're a quick heal!  We'll see how things go, but I may take tomorrow off from the shred to give my legs a break.

I should mention that shin splints are no joke, by the way.  "Untreated shin splints can lead to a stress reaction mid-shaft in the tibia, which can eventually lead to a stress fracture. A stress fracture can be diagnosed by a bone scan or an MRI and takes much longer to heal than shin splints."  I know someone this happened to in college, our first week of orientation, and he walked with crutches for years, and has a limp now.  So it's definitely not something I want to fool around with!

Does anyone else have shin splint cures that have worked for them?  Shin splint horror stories? Well, those I may not really want to hear...


  1. First, you're doing the right thing with the RICE. That will take down the inflammation. When I had them last summer, the soreness lingered after the inflammation was gone. I did stretches, but the foam roller was the best. Rolling the muscles on either side of the shin bone is a pain you'll love and hate. It's good. That's smart to take a day off since the jumping is likely causing/aggravating the condition. Take care.

  2. Thanks for the tip about rolling the muscles! I was thinking about that for my hip the other day after I read your post on rolling with tennis balls - I hadn't thought about using them on my shins! I do have a couple of new ones that I haven't given my pup yet, so I'll do that today and I'm planning some yoga to keep up the momentum without any impact. And thanks or confirming the RICE and taking the day off - I totally value your opinion on this, so I'm glad you think I'm doing the right thing!

  3. For your shins, I recommend using the foam roller. If you aren't familiar with those, it's a long cylinder made of foam. You can roll your hamstrings, shins, etc with it and usually they come with a dvd. I bought mine at Sports Authority for about $10. Totally money well spent.

  4. Okay, that's good to know - I'll pick one up this weekend! I remember using one in PT for my hips, and it was great!