Master Personal Trainer                         

Q & A:


I get calf and shin splints when I run, but I want to keep up my cardio routine.  What should I do?

Shin splints,  also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, often plague beginning runners who do not build their mileage gradually enough or seasoned runners who abruptly change their workout regimen, suddenly adding too much mileage, for example, or switching from running on flat surfaces to hills.   It’s also the result of body mechanics or bone density. Body mechanics include foot type, foot strike, and how your body is built. It is pretty common among new runners, nearly 30-40% of all new runners tend to get them, generally from starting out doing too much too soon.

Stop running completely or to decrease your training depending on the extent and duration of pain and use RICE, rest, ice compression and elevation.  You have to give your body time to rebuild or reap the consequences.  Because this is less a muscle trauma issue and more a bone issue, you can easily turn it in to a stress fracture problem by ignoring it.  The pain should never exceed a 4 on a 1-10 scale

How to treat shin splints?

Build up calf strength (practice barefoot) //

Heel walk x 15 each foot

Toe walk x 15 each foot

Feet out walk x 15 each foot

Feet in walk x 15 each foot

Ankle in walk x 10 each foot

Ankle out walk x 10 each foot

Eccentric calf straight leg x 25 each foot

Eccentric calf bent leg x 25 each foot

Shin exercises with thera band x 10 each foot

Stretch calf and achilles //

Gently stretch your Achilles if you have medial shin splints, and your calves if you have anterior shin splints.

Also, try this stretch for your shins: Kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat.
Trace alphabet //

In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg. Or alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat four times. These exercises are good for both recovery and prevention. Try to do them three times a day.

Instead of running?

Cross-train // Walk, swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) // stationary bike or elliptical