Shin splints opinions

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Sep 2013
11:53am, 6 Sep 2013
172 posts
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Grandpa Flump
I've been reading a few papers recently which seem to imply a relationship between running with a forefoot contact and shin splints and was wondering if any of you lovely Fetchies had experienced or heard of this as well?

I'm asking as it does seem to be a direct link to my own shin problems where I've had stress fractures in the past and put it down to too much, too soon in minimalist shoes/barefoot. But recently I've been able to run pain free 6 mile runs and above in my Hoka's but as soon as I do a set of five 2 minute run/walks wearing my minimalist shoes and using a more forefoot contact technique my shin splints turn up.

Any opinions or ideas on this would be welcome :-)
Sep 2013
12:18pm, 6 Sep 2013
264 posts
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My experience is almost the exact opposite. When I first started running I was a heel striker and wore very cushioned running shoes. I had a stress fracture and constant problems after that with a variety of niggles.

Since adapting my technique to a more forefoot strike and changing to f lite 230s with less cushioning, I've had no problems at all.

I will add though that I do also now pay a lot more attention to my post run stretching.

I am very flat footed though and my feet do start to ache a lot at the end of long runs.
Sep 2013
12:25pm, 6 Sep 2013
2,803 posts
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GF - that does fit intuitively with my recent experiences - I get shin pains to some extent on most runs - and the more of a forefoot contact I adopt, the worse they are. I actually end up deliberately heel striking for a minute or two occasionally as this seems to ease the pressure on the shins...
Sep 2013
2:54pm, 6 Sep 2013
173 posts
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Grandpa Flump
Thanks for your answers Andy and Dooogs.

I thought there may be a bit of a split in the opinions I got. I definitely seem to fall into the same category as Dooogs, although I've got no idea whether there's a biomechanical reason (although I guess there is, just I don't know what). I was guessing that maybe as your calf muscles are eccentrically contracting during a forefoot strike that may put more stress into the shin that way?

I'm going to follow the advice of Pete Larson and David Lieberman and stick with if it ain't broken don't fix it rather than try to push myself into a new technique, but it's definitely something I'm finding interesting to try and find more about.
Sep 2013
10:04am, 11 Sep 2013
7,701 posts
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just to chuck a third opinion in! you may be on the right track with the calf muscles pulling things tight. I'ce had a long shin stress fracture saga, consiquently my shins are lumpy as chuff, this leads to shin pain after hard runs because the periostium (SP) which is the sheath round the bone rubs on the big lumpy calcium deposits that have built up on the old SF sites.I find trying adopt a midfoot technique softens the blow.
Oct 2013
2:18pm, 7 Oct 2013
616 posts
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Sorry to leech off of your thread Grandpa, but maybe me asking the question and giving my story will in turn help you. I have recently started looking at my technique and running more on a forefoot contact. I'm not actually sure I run like that for a long distance though before falling back into a mid-foot impact.

About four weeks ago, I was out for an evening run and my calf and shin was feeling sore and tight. I carried on and after a couple of miles it felt fine again.

Three days after that I was running a half marathon. After about a mile, this pain came back. Tight calf, sore shin. I could barely run. It eased off after 5 miles and I finished the race.

I rested for a couple of days and went into taper period. Two weeks after that race mentioned above I ran the Loch Ness Marathon. No pain, nothing. A few days before the Marathon I got sports massage on each calf.

I rested after the Marathon, but during my second short run since the marathon I felt a similar pain.

It's now two days later and still sore. Not agony, but I know that it isn't right. There is also a slight but noticeable swelling on the front of the shin which is sore to touch. I am treating with deep freeze spray, ibuprofen gel and compression socks.

Is this what is known as shin splints? Any advice? I have a half Marathon on Sunday that I want to run, so I will spend the week resting/doing low impact activities (swimming or spin classes). Do calf compression sleeves help with this and should I wear them during the half Marathon on Sunday?

The shoes that I wear are Saucony Kinvara 4 for short/fast work (parkrun and such like) and the Saucony Guide 6 for everything else. I was wearing mainly the Kinvaras when the pain first appeared, but I had not had them on in ages when the pain returned so I am doubtful that shoes are two blame, since I've had two very different shoes at the time of each occurrence.
Oct 2013
2:27pm, 7 Oct 2013
19,072 posts
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eL Bee!
"Forefoot" landing will not be the reason for shin splints.

It's all to do with *where* the landing is relative to you hips

In the main, heel strikers land ahead, and there are a few biomechanical causes from *that* which cause shin splints.

For those who think that landing on the forefoot will cure it without making any other changes, they are wrong. Not only will it not cure it, it'll set up a whole new set of issues (braced ankle with a plantar-flexed foot under tension ahead of the hips) which will cause other injuries.

The thing that will make a huge difference to anyone's incidence of shin splints is to land closer to "under the hips" because it removes almost all the eccentric overload of many structures.

And no, it's not easy for most people to make the change without some good quality input.

But why pay to be taught to run in a non-injurious way, when you can spend far more money on physios and shoes :)
Oct 2013
3:04pm, 7 Oct 2013
9,378 posts
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Just imagining this "braced ankle with a plantar-flexed foot under tension ahead of the hips" makes my legs feel ill.

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Maintained by Ahote
I've been reading a few papers recently which seem to imply a relationship between running with a f...

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