When jumping back into running for the first time or completing a heavy session many of us tend to experience lower limb discomfort, especially around the anterior and medial lower leg and calves. So, what is this new discomfort, how can I manage it and when should you get help?
WHAT COULD MY DISCOMFORT BE FROM?
Lower limb discomfort when exercising can be frustrating and cause distress when lasting for longer periods of time and occurring for unknown reasons. The following blog will present some common causes for lower limb discomfort during exercise, and more specifically running, to assist you in deciding when to seek help and what strategies you can use to manage the issue.
General shin soreness and inflammation can often derive from overuse, overtraining and/or increasing training load too rapidly. The most frequent cause of shin pain is due to sudden increases in training load causing overuse of the associated musculature (1). What do we mean by this? An example of sudden increases in training loads include going from not running at all to running a few kilometers in one go, without slowly building up your tolerance to the new activity. You wouldn’t go from squatting body weight to attempting to squat 100kg on your first go, so why would you do the same with running?
Symptoms of General Soreness and Overuse Include:
DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS
Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short, is deep muscle discomfort that generally continues for 24-48 hours post exercise and sometimes can be so severe that it is mistaken for muscle strain and injury (3). DOMS is triggered by increasing physical activity outside your normal range, placing your body under higher stresses and exercise intensities causing the minor aches and pains experienced days later, and/or by eccentrically biased exercises (3). Methods such as stretching, icing and medication have all been suggested to ease the pain once it onsets however there is little evidence in the way of their effectiveness in reducing the DOMS related pain (3).
What can you do?
SHIN SPLINTS (MEDIAL TIBIAL STRESS SYNDROME)
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, more commonly known as Shin Splints is a musculoskeletal injury caused by repetitive strain commonly seen in running athletes (4). Shin splints are commonly caused by repetitive activities, sudden changes in activity (volume, intensity, duration or frequency), exercising in worn out footwear and bio-mechanical lower limb issues such as poor running mechanics and abnormal arches (5). Other issues that may increase your risk of developing shin splints include poor lower limb strength and stability and decreased range of motion at the ankle (5). Almost all shin pain is commonly referred to as “shin splints” however not all shin pain is actually shin splints as we will discover throughout this blog.
So How Will I Know If I have Shin Splints?
Some common things to look for if you believe you’re suffering from shin splints are:
What Can You Do?
Tendons are the structures that connect our muscles to bone and tendonitis can occur when these structures become inflamed (5). Tendonitis is also caused by overuse of the musculature involved and again this condition is commonly found in runners (6). Shin pain due to tendonitis will often occur at the ankle due to the tendonous attachments within this area, pain can be felt in the lower third of the shin and into the ankle (6).
So How Will I Know If I Have Tendonitis?
What Can I Do?
TIBIAL STRESS FRACTURE
Stress fractures are another type of overuse injury that occurs as a result of repetitive stresses to the associated bone (8). Tibial stress fractures will usually be felt mid shin and are present as activity begins and worsen the morning after exercise (8). Stress fractures will also be painful to touch and intensity of pain may vary day to day (8).
So How Will I Know If I Have A Stress Fracture?
What Can I Do?
WHAT INCREASES YOUR RISK OF SHIN PAIN?
Lower limb pain and discomfort may be instigated by a range of variables common throughout everyday life. Some common factors that we can all manage to decrease our risk of lower limb pain and discomfort when exercising are as follows:
WHEN TO SEE SOMEONE
As you may have read throughout this article, each of these issues are incredibly similar in presentation and mechanism of injury so if you are worried about unusual pains or discomfort that lasts for extended periods of time ensure you book into see a Health Professional to assist with managing the issue. If you are experiencing any of the following:
Lot's of incredibly valuable information. There is such a wide range of reasons why your shins may hurt and although everyones first thought is that they have shin splints it's generally not always the case.
If you are unsure on how to train to avoid developing shin pain then feel free to get in touch with us here.
1. Miller J, Russell Z, Clarke A. Shin Pain & Injury [Internet]. Physio Works. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://physioworks.com.au/pain-injury/shin-pain/
2. Summit Medical Group. Overuse Injuries [Internet]. Summit Medical Group. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/news/fitness/Overuse-Injuries/
3. Ingraham P. Post-Exercise, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness [Internet]. Pain Science. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.painscience.com/articles/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness.php
4. Ingraham P. Complete Guide to Shin Splints [Internet]. Pain Science. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/shin-splints.php
5. Michael A. Shin Splints [Internet]. Ortho Info. 2019 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/shin-splints
6. Walden M. Tibialis Anterior Tendonitis [Internet]. Sports Injury Clinic. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/ankle-pain/anterior-ankle-pain/tibialis-anterior-tendon-inflammation
7. The Johns Hopkins University. Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/ice-packs-vs-warm-compresses-for-pain
8. Sports Medicine Australia. Shin Pain [Internet]. Sports Medicine Australia. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/shin-pain/
9. Yanke A. Stress Fracture Symptoms [Internet]. Sports-Health. 2015 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/general-injuries/stress-fracture-symptoms.
10. Brooks Sport. When to Replace Your Running Shoes [Internet]. Brooks Running. 2020 [cited 4 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/blog/gear/when-to-replace-your-running-shoes/
11. Winkelmann Z, Anderson D, Games K, Eberman L. Risk Factors for Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome in Active Individuals: An Evidence-Based Review. Journal of Athletic Training. 2016;51(12):1049-1052.
Michael and Carly both have walked the path you are about to take and are commited to help you get started with your training for a successful enlistment with free tips and articles.