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Shin splints

Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
#1
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#3
Hi, AJ... Below is a post which I have previously made.

I put this together to provide help to those who wish to minimize the risk of the unpleasantness of shin splints while on Camino. :D:eek:

Warm Up -- ALWAYS warm up prior to exercise and stretch well after exercise.
  • Walk at a slower pace at the beginning of each walk.
  • Then perform ankle circles: rotate ankle ten times in one direction, then ten times in opposite direction.
  • Next, do some toe points: point toes, then flex foot - ten times on each foot to get your muscles loosened up.
  • Do the ankle circles and toes points several times each day or write the alphabet in the air with your toes.

After Walking

Stretch your calves, shins, and Achilles tendon after every walk. Tight muscles make the shin work harder to lift your foot.

When Walking

Choose a good walking surface. Avoid concrete if possible. If you walk on a road with an obvious camber, try walking out and back on the same side of the road to avoid putting too much stress on one leg.
  1. Increase your mileage and speed gradually. The general rule of thumb is to increase mileage at a rate of 10% each week.
  2. Be sure that you are not over striding.
    • Over striding occurs when you take longer steps to increase speed without running. Lengthen the stride in back, rather than in front, to improve power and efficiency in your stride. An overstriding walker has their front foot too far out in front of body. You want instead for your forward foot to contact the ground closer to your body.
    • Your stride should be longer behind your body, where your toe is pushing off, rather than out in front of your body. This is because your forward leg has no power, while your back leg is what is pushing you forward.
  3. Be Aware of Your Step Rate
    • Increasing your cadence or step rate will significantly reduce impact forces. Focus on striking beneath your center of mass and avoid stepping out in front of your body—this will also prevent over striding and braking—to lessen the load placed on the tibia.
Perform Exercises to Strengthen Calves and Shins

Studies demonstrate that bigger and stronger calf muscles have a lower risk of developing tibial stress fractures. Since tibial stress fractures can be the result of shin splints that haven’t been addressed, it makes sense that strengthening your calves may also help walkers avoid medial tibial stress syndrome.

Consider the following strength exercises to help strengthen those calves and the surrounding muscles to help prevent shin splints:

Calf Raises

Standing with your feet slightly apart, raise up onto your toes, pause for 2 seconds, and lower back down. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions.

Toe Walks

Standing on your tiptoes, walk forward 15 yards. Complete two sets of 15 yards.

Foot Pumps

Lie down with your legs straight out in front of your body and your toes pointed toward the sky. In a pumping motion, point your toes back towards your body and then back to the original position. Complete two sets of 20 repetitions.

Heel Drop

Standing on a stair or elevated platform, put your weight on your right foot while lowering your right heel past 90 degrees. Slowly raise back up and repeat before switching sides. Complete two sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

If you have shin pain, you may need to take a day or two of rest and start back more slowly.

Remember: RICE -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Ibuprofen is often recommended. There are health risks with this product. So, don't use without doing your own research.


BE AWARE -- There are a couple of related lower leg injuries which some folks may think are shin splints, but require medical intervention:

Compartment Syndrome

Pain on the lower anterior may be compartment syndrome, a swelling of the muscles within the compartment. Increased pressure compromises the area's circulation and function of the tissues in that space. Symptoms include pain, unusual nerve sensations, and muscle weakness. This condition requires a physician's diagnosis and surgical decompression may be necessary.

Stress Fracture

Another cause of pain in the lower leg is a stress fracture. If you have a definite spot of sharp pain when you run your hand along your shin the pain may be a stress fracture. A horizontal rather than vertical line of pain is another indicator and stress fractures normally feel better in the morning after a night of rest. A bone scan is necessary for diagnosis.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#4
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#5
I have had shin splints before, when I was in the army. They were only remedied for me by changing footwear and insoles. Different insoles in the boots and different running shoes for PT.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#7
What symptoms do you have? If the pain is on the inner part of your shin, along the tibia, then you may have shin splints. Sharp pain? Throbbing? Swelling? Continued activity will only aggravate shin splints and may lead to a stress fracture of the tibia. Rest is most important, as is a diagnosis from someone who knows what they're talking about such as a doctor familiar with shin splints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin will help. Your health is more important than the next kilometer. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#8
Just answered that other post.....
We bought it from our Physio, but they are online too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#9
What symptoms do you have? If the pain is on the inner part of your shin, along the tibia, then you may have shin splints. Sharp pain? Throbbing? Swelling? Continued activity will only aggravate shin splints and may lead to a stress fracture of the tibia. Rest is most important, as is a diagnosis from someone who knows what they're talking about such as a doctor familiar with shin splints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin will help. Your health is more important than the next kilometer. :)
100%.

As with all these things, get professional advice!
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#11
I have had shin splints before, when I was in the army. They were only remedied for me by changing footwear and insoles. Different insoles in the boots and different running shoes for PT.
Scott suffers from shin splints on our first Camino, advice from the very useful army Drs at the pilgrim clinic was to ditch the boots and use running shoes or sandles. Worked a treat, the Camino can have a very hard surface which takes a toll, boots tend to be to heavy and make things worse. It also helps if you have a friendly donkey to carry your stuff while you recover... Not so good for the donkey (me).
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
#12
I had Shin Splints.... BUT actually I didn't.

I had the sharp pain for two days. I looked it up.
It was obvious.
I had Shin Splits in my right leg.
We rested in Leon for a day.

Then I figured out.... I had a Bad Shoe!
The tongue on my right shoe had curled near to top.
The one side of the tongue was poking me on every step.
On the Camino you take a lot of steps.
That was a lot of poking (by the soft tongue tip) in the same spot.
The pain was real, but the cause was the shoe.

I retied my shoe differently. In a day.... I was getting better.

Always be careful of self diagnoses.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#13
100%.

As with all these things, get professional advice!
I'm always cautious about painkillers (plus I'm allergic to Ibuprofen). When I was younger, and very stupid, I was exercise obsessed. I would spend all morning at the gym doing aerobics, then run for hours in the afternoon with my dad and sister. I would just take painkillers.
I ended up with legs so painful I couldn't even bear the bedclothes touching them at night without painkillers. When I finally sought professional help I found that I had given myself stress fractures that took ages to heal.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past: CF: Sarria to Santiago May 2017
VdlP/ Sanabres: Salamanca to Santiago May 2018
Fisterra Muxia
#14
I suffered shin splints last month on VDLP via Sanabria - solution the exercises as per davebugg's excellent post (above) including two days rest, lighten the carry load, one ibuprofen per day with breakfast and very importantly - KT tape . KT tape application is different if you have Anterior or Posterior shin splints - look up on You tube on how to apply
or
I wore the same KT tape for the last 200km which gave great relief
KT tape is Elastic therapeutic tape, also called kinesiology tape
Good luck with the legs - Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk the Camino Frances mid May 2018
#15
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
Suggest to stop walking. Ur body is giving una message. Listen before u end up in a mess and having serious long-term issues. It’s obviously a lesson here to slow down and enjoy. It’s not a darn race
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2016 Camino Frances to Leon
Fall 2017 Camino Frances to Finisterre
#16
Hi, AJ... Below is a post which I have previously made.

I put this together to provide help to those who wish to minimize the risk of the unpleasantness of shin splints while on Camino. :D:eek:

Warm Up -- ALWAYS warm up prior to exercise and stretch well after exercise.
  • Walk at a slower pace at the beginning of each walk.
  • Then perform ankle circles: rotate ankle ten times in one direction, then ten times in opposite direction.
  • Next, do some toe points: point toes, then flex foot - ten times on each foot to get your muscles loosened up.
  • Do the ankle circles and toes points several times each day or write the alphabet in the air with your toes.

After Walking

Stretch your calves, shins, and Achilles tendon after every walk. Tight muscles make the shin work harder to lift your foot.

When Walking

Choose a good walking surface. Avoid concrete if possible. If you walk on a road with an obvious camber, try walking out and back on the same side of the road to avoid putting too much stress on one leg.
  1. Increase your mileage and speed gradually. The general rule of thumb is to increase mileage at a rate of 10% each week.
  2. Be sure that you are not over striding.
    • Over striding occurs when you take longer steps to increase speed without running. Lengthen the stride in back, rather than in front, to improve power and efficiency in your stride. An overstriding walker has their front foot too far out in front of body. You want instead for your forward foot to contact the ground closer to your body.
    • Your stride should be longer behind your body, where your toe is pushing off, rather than out in front of your body. This is because your forward leg has no power, while your back leg is what is pushing you forward.
  3. Be Aware of Your Step Rate
    • Increasing your cadence or step rate will significantly reduce impact forces. Focus on striking beneath your center of mass and avoid stepping out in front of your body—this will also prevent over striding and braking—to lessen the load placed on the tibia.
Perform Exercises to Strengthen Calves and Shins

Studies demonstrate that bigger and stronger calf muscles have a lower risk of developing tibial stress fractures. Since tibial stress fractures can be the result of shin splints that haven’t been addressed, it makes sense that strengthening your calves may also help walkers avoid medial tibial stress syndrome.

Consider the following strength exercises to help strengthen those calves and the surrounding muscles to help prevent shin splints:

Calf Raises

Standing with your feet slightly apart, raise up onto your toes, pause for 2 seconds, and lower back down. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions.

Toe Walks

Standing on your tiptoes, walk forward 15 yards. Complete two sets of 15 yards.

Foot Pumps

Lie down with your legs straight out in front of your body and your toes pointed toward the sky. In a pumping motion, point your toes back towards your body and then back to the original position. Complete two sets of 20 repetitions.

Heel Drop

Standing on a stair or elevated platform, put your weight on your right foot while lowering your right heel past 90 degrees. Slowly raise back up and repeat before switching sides. Complete two sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

If you have shin pain, you may need to take a day or two of rest and start back more slowly.

Remember: RICE -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Ibuprofen is often recommended. There are health risks with this product. So, don't use without doing your own research.


BE AWARE -- There are a couple of related lower leg injuries which some folks may think are shin splints, but require medical intervention:

Compartment Syndrome

Pain on the lower anterior may be compartment syndrome, a swelling of the muscles within the compartment. Increased pressure compromises the area's circulation and function of the tissues in that space. Symptoms include pain, unusual nerve sensations, and muscle weakness. This condition requires a physician's diagnosis and surgical decompression may be necessary.

Stress Fracture

Another cause of pain in the lower leg is a stress fracture. If you have a definite spot of sharp pain when you run your hand along your shin the pain may be a stress fracture. A horizontal rather than vertical line of pain is another indicator and stress fractures normally feel better in the morning after a night of rest. A bone scan is necessary for diagnosis.
HI Davebugg, I love your posts with all of this great information and insight! You might have already posted this, but what is your training and profession? I'm going on the Norte next year; can you set up shop somewhere along the way???!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct (2018)
#17
I want to second Bsrry’s Reply. KT tape works. I suffered shin splints on day 36 of 40. After taping I had no problem. Just be very careful when removing tspe
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall (2017)
#18
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
My shin splints were excruciating and finally forced me to stop. I also got a very painful early stage bowel blockage from taking too much daily naproxen, which is similar to ibuprofen, for the pain. I had audible crunching upon movement and had to stop to rest. The real thing that was pure magic though, was a series of three osteopathic sessions of manipulation. Well it was really one hour of manipulation, a second one of electrical stimulation and another hour of manipulation, spaced out over a little more than a week. I stopped walking my Camino Frances for 2 weeks, though I walked for miles around Leon as was possible as my condition improved. The osteopath warned me that the shin splints were bad enough that they were likely to recur, though they never, ever did. He was a magician. What a blessing. You 'could' create a chronic, long-term condition if you ignore your body's needs.
 

Rex

Pilgrim Trekker
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
#19
Had shin splints from Porto Marin to Santiago. Taped both sides of tibia with a vertical strip of duct tape (or athletic tape) from ankle to 1” below knee. Then put 3” strips of tape across the gap in a diagonal herringbone pattern from ankle up to top of vertical side strips. No more problems. Iced lower legs every evening and stretched feet and ankles. No more problems five years on and still running 1/2 marathons in addition to trekking.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#20
I suffered shin splints last month on VDLP via Sanabria - solution ...... including two days rest, lighten the carry load, one ibuprofen per day with breakfast and very importantly - KT tape . KT tape application is different if you have Anterior or Posterior shin splints.
I wore the same KT tape for the last 200km which gave great relief
KT tape is Elastic therapeutic tape, also called kinesiology tape
Good luck with the legs - Buen Camino
KT tape, as Barry posted, can be beneficial. If one decides on KT tape, for any number of differing skeletal-muscular issues for which therapists make use of it, there are some things which one can do to increase the strength of the adhesive so that it can remain in place for more than one day. Keep in mind, however, that any adhesive-backed product can create contact dermatitis in an individual with prolonged -- and sometimes not so prolonged -- application. So be watchful of any increasing itchiness under the adhesive, irritation and redness, or a hive-like appearance at the site.

  1. Remove as much hair from the application area as possible. I've even done that with a small pocket knife if it is as sharp as I normally like to keep them, but a disposable razor purchased at a local mercado or farmacia will work, too. :)
  2. Remove as much dirt and body oils from the area as you can. I always recommend hikers carry a small, pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer, which has a large alcohol base. The sanitizer works well at this job. A good scrubbing of non-moisturizing soap, and hot water will work also if no sanitizer or alcohol pads.
  3. I carry a small, reusable vial (too light to register in weight on normal scales) of Tincture of Benzoin (ToB). ToB dramatically increases the holding power of the applied adhesive-backed material. I will apply a thin application to the skin where the adhesive will be applied. For blister treatment, I will do the same when treating someone, but leaving the area of the skin on the roof of the blister, or the open wound of a blister, free of ToB.
  4. Once the KT tape, or the blister treatment or hotspot dressing material, has been applied to the skin, rub the entire area with barely enough force to create some heat from the friction. This will help soften the adhesive and allow it to better stick to the skin.
A lot of complaints about tapes or dressings coming loose or having the edges roll up as activity continues are resolved with doing the above. It also helps make the adhesive far more resistant to the effects of perspiration or showers, thus allowing it to remain, if desired, for long periods of time -- even days. KT tape is not inexpensive, so doing the above is a definite plus.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#21
I want to second Bsrry’s Reply. KT tape works. I suffered shin splints on day 36 of 40. After taping I had no problem. Just be very careful when removing tspe
Apply hand sanitizer, or plain alcohol, to the tape's surface and let it soak in for a bit prior to removal. Then use heat, likely from a hot water soaked cloth, and begin removing the tape before it cools back down. That should help :)
 

Cindy P.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 3017
#22
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
I feel your pain!! I got shin splints in both legs - I also used Voltaren and a cream made by a Spanish pharmacist; both helped, but the most helpful was a compression sleeve. It made it possible to continue with minimal pain and the problem resolved in 5 to 7 days. Good luck!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#23
HI Davebugg, I love your posts with all of this great information and insight! You might have already posted this, but what is your training and profession? I'm going on the Norte next year; can you set up shop somewhere along the way???!!!
Hi, Andrea; thank you for the kind words....

I debated on how, or even if, as to a response to your query. Well, for better or worse, here it is; and I am still cringing a bit doing this as it is a post that isn't focused on the Camino and the forum.

My major areas of training:
  • Constant and periodic basic field first aid training and practice as an Army brat growing up on military bases with a 1st Sergeant as a dad :)
  • Wilderness and advanced wilderness first aid trainings as a teen while a volunteer for the Mt Rainier Mountain Rescue teams through high school, with refresher courses every three years up to present (except during military service;
  • Combat medical training as a Flight Medic in the US Army, with continued Advanced Individual Training (AIT -- military speak for one's occupational training) as a Healthcare Specialist with rotations through hospital ERs, orthopedics, OB, pediatrics, and general surgical;
  • BA in Public Health, and a double minor in Sports and Exercise Physiology with clinical work,. Continuing education courses each year both online and on-site;
  • Licensed Professional Midwife in Washington State, graduating from Seattle Midwifery School in 1985. 2,127 births attended -- in hospital, birthing centers, and home. Discontinued practice about 9 years after being hired by the Chelan-Douglas Health District;
  • Public Health education director and infectious/bloodborne pathogens disease monitoring and testing. Also responsible for helping the Health District interpret rules and laws regarding Public Health as it applied to the implementation of policies, programs, and regulatory enforcements through our personal health departments.
  • Early retirement from the Chelan-Douglas Health District in 2003, after 17+ years, to start a few businesses, and to take on other challenges --- which includes keeping abreast on continuing education and best practices in my areas of study. I have also spent a lot of volunteer time in crises areas around the world, primarily providing maternal-child care, and also securing clean water supplies and keeping them clean via the digging of wells and sewage disposal systems. My previous combat military training and service has been a definite asset to survival in a few scary instances. :)
  • Since 2007, I have been an independent, for-hire, quality control user-tester for various backpacking and clothing-footwear manufacturers. It's a part-time thing where I choose when and for whom I will work.
  • I have a primary post-retirement business as a health education consultant. Again, it is part-time at my discretion as to clientele.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
#24
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
Compression tights have always worked for me and when my male friend started to feel the pain of shin splints I gave him my tights. They were a bit small for him but they did the job. He was able to walk and the pain disappeared. Good luck
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked part of the Camino Frances and plan to start over in April 2018.
#25
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
Massage by a sports therapist and DMSO. Worked for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#26
I have not taken the time to read all of these answers but I did experience shinsplints at the beginning of my Camino and I used KT tape and was able to continue walking. You can find many videos on YouTube that explain to you how to put it on and you can buy it in the farmacia
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#27
Massage by a sports therapist and DMSO. Worked for me.
When that works, you usually did not have shin splints.

Shin splints, the catch-all term for lower leg pain that occurs below the knee either on the front outside part of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints), are the bane of many athletes, runners, tennis players, even dancers. They 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.

The nature of shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), most often can be captured in four words: too much, too soon.

Identifying symptoms of shin splints

Shin pain doesn’t always mean you have shin splints. It might be a sign of some other problem. The following are two conditions that are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as shin splints.

Pain on the anterior (outside) part of the lower leg may be compartment syndrome—a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment—which creates pressure. To diagnose this condition, special techniques are used to measure the amount of pressure. Sometimes surgical “decompression” is required. The symptoms of compartment syndrome include leg pain, unusual nerve sensations, and eventually muscle weakness.

Pain in the lower leg could also be a stress fracture (an incomplete crack in the bone), which is a far more serious injury than shin splints. A bone scan is the definitive tool for diagnosing a stress fracture. However, there are clues you can look for that will signal whether or not you should get a bone scan.

The pain of shin splints is also more generalized than that of a stress fracture. Press your fingertips along your shin, and if you can find a definite spot of sharp pain, it’s a sign of a stress fracture. Additionally, stress fractures often feel better in the morning because the bone has rested all night; they often feel worse in the morning because the soft tissue tightens overnight. Shin splints are also at their most painful when you forcibly try to lift your foot up at the ankle and flex your foot.

Common causes of shin splints

There can be a number of factors at work, such as overpronation (a frequent cause of medial shin splints), inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip from running on cambered roads or always running in the same direction on a track. Typically, one leg is involved and it is almost always the runner’s dominant one. If you’re right-handed, you’re usually right-footed as well, and that’s the leg that’s going to hurt.

The most common site for shin splints is the medial area (the inside of the shin). Anterior shin splints (toward the outside of the leg) usually result from an imbalance between the calf muscles and the muscles in the front of your leg, and often afflict beginners who either have not yet adjusted to the stresses of running or are not stretching enough.

But what exactly is a shin splint? There’s no end-all consensus among sports scientists, and theories have included small tears in the muscle that’s pulled off the bone, an inflammation of the periosteum [a thin sheath of tissue that wraps around the tibia, or shin bone], an inflammation of the muscle, or some combination of these. Fortunately, medical experts agree on how to treat them.

Treatment of shin splints

Experts agree that when shin splints strike you should stop running completely or decrease your training depending on the extent and duration of pain. Then, as a first step, ice your shin to reduce inflammation. Here are some other treatments you can try:

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.

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.

If you continue running, wrap your leg before you go out. Use either tape or an Ace bandage, starting just above the ankle and continuing to just below the knee. Keep wrapping your leg until the pain goes away, which usually takes three to six weeks. “What you’re doing is binding the tendons up against the shaft of the shin to prevent stress,” Laps says.

Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.

When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics.

Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.

Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until shin pain goes away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence.

If you frequently run on roads with an obvious camber, run out and back on the same side of the road. Likewise, when running on a track, switch directions.

If you are prone to developing shin splints, stretch your calves and Achilles regularly as a preventive measure.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Apr-Jun 2018)
#28
I got shin splints about 24 days into the Camino del Norte last month but kept walking. Here’s what worked for me (I am not a medical professional):
  • Took a day off two days after the pain started when it became clear it wasn’t just a passing issue. Read up on stress fractures v. shin splints and did a few of the recommended ‘tests’ to determine a stress fracture was less likely.
  • Bought hiking poles during the day off. Sooo helpful.
  • Used the KT tape videos (posted in someone else’s reply) to learn how to tape my leg each day. When I ran out of the KT tape I brought, I was able to find kinesiology tape at a Decathlon.
  • Used roll-on ibuprofen (in moderation) that I bought at a pharmacy on the shin.
  • Started stretching my calves and Achilles’ tendons before and after walking. I was sort of stretching before but not seriously or consistently like I should have.
After the day off, I did a few short days at a slower pace. My spouse was also able to lighten my pack by a pound or two since we were walking together. I really didn’t want to use a backpack transfer service but would have done so if it was the only way to finish. I was prepared to stop altogether if the pain got worse or started to fit the stress fracture symptoms more, but was, thankfully, able to continue.
 

pinewport

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to set off Sept 18th 2012 from St Pieds
#29
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
I had shin splints quite badly on my 1st Camino. A chemist sold me some ankle supports and ibuprofen
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
I had painful shin splints on my 1 st Camino. A pharmacist sold me some ankle supports and ibuprofen patches to fit in then. Reduced mileage per day, walking slower, loosening the lacing on my boots and after a few days the pain was much better and I finished the Camino. Having company to walk with takes your mind off the pain too. Good luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
french 2009 and 2017. either portuguese or Le Puy in 2018
#30
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin![



iboprufen constricts blood vessels and makes shin splints worse. Small regular doses of alcohol dilate blood vessels. It worked for me - a little aguadienthe in the coffee and a wine at lunch
 
Camino(s) past & future
french 2009 and 2017. either portuguese or Le Puy in 2018
#31
iboprufen constricts blood vessels and makes shin splints worse. regular small doses of alcohol dilate blood vessels - agua dienthe in coffee, wine at lunch, beer in the arvo - worked for me
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017
#32
I am currently on the Via Gebennensis, and it looks like I might have a case of shin splints.
As I would expect, all the advice I get is to stop walking and rest.
I would prefer not stopping.
I have used Voltaren, and a French pharmacist gave me an alternative, and this has helped. I have also googled exercises to help.
I would be grateful if anyone in this forum who has experienced shin splints and kept walking, could share what was done to help.
Thank you!
Buen Camino! Bon chemin!
I have just returned from the Le Puy Route and had shin splints and did take a small break of 2 days, using Claudine’s fabulous service to keep up with my partner. I also used her service to transport my pack for a day or so after that- relieving myself of my pack really helped! I found the pain too excruciating to continue so those days were bliss! I used voltaren gel , and a fellow walker also suffering taught me an old army trick which was to wrap the effected shin in plastic wrap to deepen the gels absorption when we walked. I also stretched my calves and shins by going up on my toes and down again whilst bracing myself against a wall ( to give some resistance). I also made sure to take short breaks in the walking day, resting by elevating my feet with that well earned beer at the end of the day! Keep going ! Bon Chemin!!!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#33
iboprufen constricts blood vessels and makes shin splints worse. regular small doses of alcohol dilate blood vessels - agua dienthe in coffee, wine at lunch, beer in the arvo - worked for me
Perhaps I may be able to help correct some misinformation that you may have been given about NSAIDs, and Ibuprofen in particular. There are so many recommendations and potential side effects with various over-the-counter medications, it can become a bit confusing as to the best course of action :)

Ibuprofen does the opposite of constricting blood vessels. NSAIDs reduce pain and inflammation by preventing the production of prostaglandins and thromboxane, chemical compounds that do cause blood vessels to constrict. Because prostaglandins cause both pain and swelling (or inflammation), NSAIDS, including Ibuprofen, can be very effective in helping to alleviate the swelling and pain of shin splints over a prolonged period of time as an adjunct to using ice and elevating the legs.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2016 Camino Frances to Leon
Fall 2017 Camino Frances to Finisterre
#35
Hi, Andrea; thank you for the kind words....

I debated on how, or even if, as to a response to your query. Well, for better or worse, here it is; and I am still cringing a bit doing this as it is a post that isn't focused on the Camino and the forum.

My major areas of training:
  • Constant and periodic basic field first aid training and practice as an Army brat growing up on military bases with a 1st Sergeant as a dad :)
  • Wilderness and advanced wilderness first aid trainings as a teen while a volunteer for the Mt Rainier Mountain Rescue teams through high school, with refresher courses every three years up to present (except during military service;
  • Combat medical training as a Flight Medic in the US Army, with continued Advanced Individual Training (AIT -- military speak for one's occupational training) as a Healthcare Specialist with rotations through hospital ERs, orthopedics, OB, pediatrics, and general surgical;
  • BA in Public Health, and a double minor in Sports and Exercise Physiology with clinical work,. Continuing education courses each year both online and on-site;
  • Licensed Professional Midwife in Washington State, graduating from Seattle Midwifery School in 1985. 2,127 births attended -- in hospital, birthing centers, and home. Discontinued practice about 9 years after being hired by the Chelan-Douglas Health District;
  • Public Health education director and infectious/bloodborne pathogens disease monitoring and testing. Also responsible for helping the Health District interpret rules and laws regarding Public Health as it applied to the implementation of policies, programs, and regulatory enforcements through our personal health departments.
  • Early retirement from the Chelan-Douglas Health District in 2003, after 17+ years, to start a few businesses, and to take on other challenges --- which includes keeping abreast on continuing education and best practices in my areas of study. I have also spent a lot of volunteer time in crises areas around the world, primarily providing maternal-child care, and also securing clean water supplies and keeping them clean via the digging of wells and sewage disposal systems. My previous combat military training and service has been a definite asset to survival in a few scary instances. :)
  • Since 2007, I have been an independent, for-hire, quality control user-tester for various backpacking and clothing-footwear manufacturers. It's a part-time thing where I choose when and for whom I will work.
  • I have a primary post-retirement business as a health education consultant. Again, it is part-time at my discretion as to clientele.
Thanks Davebugg! Wow, an impressive amount of experience and knowledge. If I am ever hanging up my laundry at the the municipal at Cebreiro and I go rolling off the cliff, I'll call you!
 

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