I understand the physiology behind them, but they seem to hit at whatever moment they want, they dont hurt or cause an issue when I am running, but are agony to to the touch.......What is going on...?
Are you sure it's shin splints? a lot of people 'think' they have shin splints but it's often something else. I say this because you would normally have the shin splint pain and often some swelling during exercise. Does it hurt at the beginning of your run and the pain goes away after a while (yes, this could be shin splints) - or is it literally sometime later after your workout that the pain begins (something else maybe - where in your leg is the pain?).
Either way use the RICE method:
Rest. This could mean a good few weeks off from running, but will be better for you in the long run (geddit?).
ICE your leg daily for 10-15 minutes.
Go see your doctor who should either be able to tell you what's happening or refer you to someone more qualified.
When your better, you'll also need to work on your training plan as you are most likely doing too much too soon. If it's not your plan then the issue could be:
* With your biomechanics (i.e. the way you run)
* Your core. You'd be surprised how much a weak core will affect your run.
* Your trainers. Are they old? do they fit properly? do you overpronate?
Hope this helps a teeny bit.
Gavin P has given good advice above. I know this from my own experience.
With shin splints you will have pain as you run. It will ease as you get warmer, but they will hurt like hell whenever you stop. The pain is a searing, almost burning sensation, which gives you a jolt with every foot strike. When I had this problem I also felt the discomfort, in a much reduced form, much of the time, when just walking around at work or at home. The pain will ease with ibuprofen, but that does nothing to tackle to causes.
I went to a sports physio. He looked at my gait to see if there was anything out of line with my biomechanics (which there wasn't), as well as checking over my posture generally and in so doing checked I had the right kind of running shoes (which I did, neutrals being fine for me).
I had several weeks of massage and acupuncture with him, as well as doing stretches he gave me and doing further massage in my own time. This involved carefully pushing a golf ball along the affected areas, which for me were either side of the shin bone, several times a day. Essentially the condition is a reaction, usually to the stress of over-exertion, manifesting itself in an inflammation of the fascia around the soft tissue inside the shin. With this comes tightness in that tissue, which I think is what brings the pain.
I was training for the Brighton marathon at the time, from which I had to withdraw in the end. I felt I had been increasing my training quite gradually over nine months, but it was the case that I had taken a step up in my efforts in previous weeks. The increase was more in intensity than distance. The pain first hit me during a track session with a club and a proper coach, doing 1, 2 and 3 lap repeats. I finished one effort and was hit with this horrible pain immediately on getting over the line and pulling up.
After the physio sessions, and a couple of failed attempts to run pain-free, the physio suggested I go to a podiatrist. He agreed that my gait was essentially neutral, but did nonetheless give me some othotic inserts to be worn all the time, running or not. I moved these between all my different pairs of shoes for a couple of months and that, combined with complete rest from running, seemed to sort the problem. Once I had accepted I had to forget about my marathon it was easier to just give the injury the time to heal, so apart from the odd swim I did nothing for a couple of months.
The pain was such that I remain very sensitive to any discomfort in the shin area, and we are now a year on. I wear off-the-shelf sports insoles when I run and I use a gel ice pack regularly afterwards. I also, when I'm in the shower after a run, turn it to cold at the end and point the head at my lower legs. Physio suggested this, to help you system flush away any lactic or other toxins which can build up in that area and can contribute to inflammation.
I should, right at this moment, be out doing a long run for the Bath Half next month. However, I have had some tightness in my shin for the last week or so. The pain isn't the same, or anything like the intensity, as when I had the splints, but that experience has taught me its better to avoid any chance of aggravating what might be just a niggle. I can't emphasise enough how important it is to take it easy and get yourself checked out, if you have bad pain in this area.
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