Rachel cannot shake her shin splints

June 23, 2017

Hello, I am a runner, I like to run marathons. In September 2015 I developed shin splint in my left leg whilst training for my 4th marathon. I have never been able to shake them since. Now when I run I get pain in my left foot, shin, hip and sometime my lower back.

I just want to run properly again. I have seen many different physios – they all say different things. Nothing they suggest seems to help.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thank you

June 23, 2017

Hi Rach

Shin splints AKA medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) really can happy for a variety of reasons. It’s pretty disheartening that you’ve seen a variety of Physio’s with little improvement.

I’ll rewind a little and highlight the essentials – and hopefully the cause.

First up – get a really good running assessment. The common causes are poor running shoes which don’t marry up to your technique or foot posture. Where and when you land on your leading foot is also key, as is cadence and stride length. The best tip is run as quietly as possible and try to get your foot landing pretty much under your body, but not on your heel – mid foot rocks.

Next up where to call your strength up from – can you do 30+ single knee squats with a bent knee to really see just how your Soleus muscle performs. This is key – lots go for simple straight knee single knee squats and focus on the other, bigger muscle called Gastroc – it doesn’t really help.

Also do you have enough control of your lower limb – control not strength is key, especially of your gluts – medius in particular. If you do a single knee squat can you control the rolling in of your thigh, the flattening of your foot arch and the dropping of your opposite hip?

How about arm swing when walking or running – a stiff thoracic spine will limit the amount of control, endurance and stability around your hip – which will play havoc south of this.

Tape is fun, but never the answer. Time is also key and a decent prognosis needs to incorporate when you should start to see and feel an improvement….and it may not be as short as your like, depending on the cause and chronicity etc.

Last us – calf stretches. Just stop it!

You’re a marathon gal – you need some decent input…

Hope this helps.

The Guru

Guru Responded

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