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Shin splits - when should I see a doctor?
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Pierow posted:
I've recently joined a local CrossFit box to get into shape and lose some weight. As with any good exercise routine, running and various jumping exercises are in order. But for me, I've been "grounded" from doing them for the past two weeks due to shin splits. I'll get sharp stabbing pains in my shins while sitting still doing nothing, and climbing stairs can aggravate them. I've stopped doing all running & jumping exercises, and have subbed rowing for all running. But I'm starting to wonder if it's time to see a doctor about them?

Needless to say in my 35 years running and jumping is something I haven't done a lot of.
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Make sure you have shin splints. Shin splints are on the inside and occasionally on top (or behind) the shin bone. You should ice when you're done exercising, rest when they hurt, and make sure your shoes fit properly; you should have about a finger width between your toe and the front of the shoe and your heel should rise no more than ? an inch when you walk, and have someone evaluate you for flat feet or pronation, and if so, you may need an arch support and maybe even new walking shoes.

If the pain is in the muscle on the outside of the shin then it's most likely the anterior tibilias muscle cramping, possibly from too much rapid flexion and extension of the ankle. For instance, on the treadmill, if you walk fast enough, and for long enough, or if you've suddenly increased the speed or the elevation, the muscle gets overworked and starts to cramp. It would be like doing dozens of biceps curls until your arm started to cramp. If it's the anterior tib, then massage and ice can help, and then cutting back a bit and starting more slowly is one way to solve it.

Shin splints are a stress-related, or overuse, injury, and pushing through the pain can cause inflammatory conditions like periostitis. You should not work through the pain, and if it continues, then you should see your doctor.

Here are excellent shin splint resources:

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/shin-splints

www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003177.htm

www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/shin.html

www.mayoclinic.com/health/shin-splints/DS00271

Take care, Rich


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