Just one run or walk can cause shin splints. One run or walk can be over training for your body...if you start too vigorously, or go too far, or use poor shoes, or exercise on too harsh a surface such as concrete.
Some people like to call shin splints "medial tibial stress syndrome" due to pain of the inner shin muscle. It also effects the outer shin muscle, the tibialis anterior.
The most likely injury for beginner runners and walkers is: SHIN SPLINTS - painful shins A stress fracture pain is likely to be a continuous pain and restricted to one spot. Do not run. If you have a more diffuse pain or tenderness in the lower third of the leg on the inside, or along the entire shin, a fracture is less likely. Pain is felt on extending the toes and weight bearing. It hurts if you press the area with your finger. Physiologically, itís an inflammation of the tendons OR muscle in this area. Pain eases when youíre well warmed up, but resumes at the end of exercise. Causes - Running with the weight too far forward; striking the ground with the first third of the foot; over-striding; shoes too tight around the toes; inflexible shoes; weak arches may be present; tight calf muscles stress the shin structures; running or walking on hard surfaces; overpronation; overtraining is its trademark; beginners are very susceptible. Prevention--Flexible foreshoe--use a combination or slip lasted design. Use a heel lift to reduce jarring, along with arch supports or padding if necessary. Run or walk fewer miles; do them on softer surfaces. Pool run. Bring back road mileage a mile or two at a time as you ease back to full training. Use orthotics or anti-pronation shoes. The shin muscle works against the large calf muscles; the shin muscle is the last muscle to warm up and the first to cool down. With this in mind, do an exercise to build it up--the paint pot exercise, or hooking an elastic belt or similar item under the toes and pushing against it ten times each day should suffice. Wearing long thick socks will help to avoid the chill when not running, making it easier to warm up the muscle before you do run or walk. Treatment - Flexibility work: ice alternating with moist heat...then put the muscle through its full range of motion. Use NSAIDs.
COMPARTMENT SYNDROME is a muscle pain due to the muscles growing faster than the sheath surrounding them. It includes one form of shin splints; it also affects the other smallish muscles of the lower leg. Ice and anti-inflammatories can help, but surgery may be required to allow the muscle more room to expand. Some muscles grow so much that they constrict the blood flow into the sheath...resulting in necrosis (a medical emergency) of the muscle.
If you feel pain when you put pressure on the shin...rest. Stress fractures donít show up on x-ray until healing is well under way; they can be confirmed quite early by a bone scan. The dilemma--a fracture requires six to eight weeks non impact exercise to heal. Use non running exercise to maintain muscle tone until youíve confirmed if you have a fracture.
Concrete is six times harsher to your shin tissues than asphalt. Asphalt is three or more times harsher on your shin muscles than packed dirt trails. Grass and muddy trails are still softer, and significantly decrease your risk of shin splints.
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