It sounds pretty scary when the medical term is used but what I’m suffering from is shin splints. A shin splint is pain in the lower front part of the leg along the shin bone. This is a fairly common type of muscle trauma and it seems to hit at any given time. Even a small change in your routine can cause this pain.
I walk, cycle, and lift weights several times a week, usually indoors over the past few months. The weather is finally getting nice so I went outside to walk which is the cause of this pain. Any change of surface affects your stride, foot strike, and movement which stresses different muscles and bones. Instead of easing into this change of pavement, I walked for an hour on Sunday. And not just a walk, it was with my daughter and her dog, a big Doberman who made us keep up a fast pace the whole time. I think dogs are one of the best pieces of exercise equipment a person can have! Too bad I only have cats, they are only good for stretching. (and they aren’t much help with that, either)
Another reason for this shin pain? Lack of warm-up and cool down stretching. We were so anxious to get out and go that we skipped the basics. Lots of people will be heading outside to walk, run, garden, etc. without taking the proper precautions and will be really sore for a few days after. While you can’t entirely avoid sore muscles (especially if you have been dormant all winter) taking a few minutes before and after will prevent some of the pain.
What should you do when you get shin splints? Rest it the best treatment but I hate to rest and waste the few nice days we get each year. I also need to keep burning calories to make up for how much I eat! If rest is not an option, try some low or no-impact activities like cycling or swimming until your shins feel better. Ice packs are good and some light stretching will help.
I’m sure my shin splints are from taking such a long walk, but I think it’s time to get some new shoes as well.
Have you looked at your workout shoes lately? They could also cause more harm than good when they start to wear out. As a general rule, most running and walking shoes last up to 500 miles. How and where you use your shoes could alter that number. For example, pavement wears down shoes faster than a track, a trail or gravel. Also keep in mind that shoes with an EVA midsole tend to wear down faster than shoes with a polyurethane midsole. I tend to replace mine every 6 months but there are better ways to determine if you need new shoes.
Do the Press Test:
To determine if the midsoles of your shoes are compressed and are no longer providing cushioning, do the press test. Using your thumb, push on the outsole upward into the midsole. With new shoes, it should be easy to see the midsole compress into lines or wrinkles. As the shoe wears down, the midsole compresses less with the same amount of pressure. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines and the press test reveals a minimal amount of compression, there is little or no cushioning left.
Look at Your Shoes:
Don’t worry about how dirty they are. That’s a good thing. It means you’ve been using them. What you should be concerned with is general wear and tear. Take a look at your shoes. Are the heels stretched out? Are places on the outsoles worn down? Can you see how the shoes have molded to your foot? These are all signs of excessive wear.
How Do They Feel?
Your body will know when there is little or no cushioning left in your shoes. If you notice any aches or pains in your feet, legs, knees, hips or back after you’ve worn your shoes, it’s a good sign that you need a new pair. Other signs include friction or blisters in unexpected places, which means your shoes have stretched and your feet are moving around too much.
It’s time to get up and move around, Ouch- those shins are going to hurt. As a trainer once told me- pain is the bad stuff leaving your body.
Get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather!
My walking partner needed to rest as well!