Jogging & Running/Shin splints

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Question
I really want to become a runner. I was good at it when I was younger and enjoyed running a lot. However, it has been about 15 years since I have done any type of running. I am out of shape as I quit exercising when I got pregnant and my daughter is now 2. I would love to take up running again, but whenever I get out there to try my shins hurt. I don't think it is from overuse, because they start hurting immediately. I can jog through my house and it hurts my shins. The pain doesn't remain if I quit right away. I ran for a week (first week of couch to 5k) and my shins hurt so bad I could hardly walk. I decided to stop until it went away, which took weeks. Couch to 5k really eases you into running so I know that my shins should not hurt like this. I feel shin pain when I jump or when I impact my legs in any way. I haven't run since summer for only one week. I can't even do exercise videos without my shins feeling bruised (only while doing the video, it does not last after the video is over). I just don't know why this is happening. I really want to run, but is it normal to feel immediate pain as soon as you start running(the first time)? I have never heard of this. Do I just need to push through the pain? Will it go away after a few weeks or should I just choose a different type of exercise? Thank you for your help.

Answer
Brandy, It's excellent you want to start exercising and running again! Below are my answers. I numbered them so they wouldn't all run together.

1) Shin splints are not normal. They are common, but common doesn't mean normal.

2) Running through the pain will just cause more pain so if pain increases the more you run then stop running. If it doesn't increase and it stays at a low-level then it is fine to continue running.

3) Ice where there is pain every morning. Stretch that area. The pain is likely on the front and towards the outside. If this is true then stretch by pointing your foot down and in.

4) Practice different foot strikes. You can see forefoot running here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jrnj-7YKZE The video demonstrates performing it barefoot, but it can just as easily be done with shoes. The key is to find a foot strike that doesn't hurt. Often, people will employee more than 1 type of foot strike and tweak each of those so that they don't cause too much stress in one area.

5) If the pain doesn't subside at all then find a physical therapist with OCS or SCS after his or her name. They have extra training that will be able to help you.

The most important thing to take from this is that shin splints aren't good. You can find a way to run without pain. Feel free to ask me more questions.  

Jogging & Running

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Nick Rainey

Expertise

I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.

Experience

I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

Organizations
American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

Publications
The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Education/Credentials
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

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