1. #1
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    Running=Pain... Cylce instead?

    Title pretty much says it. I have been plagued with a borderline intolerable shin splint pain since the academy. I had issues with them during the military as well but not nearly to the level I do now. It's such an issue that I can barely walk after a longer run or a good hard sprint. Even after a good foot pursuit I find myself gimping back to the car and deal with the pain for about an hour afterward.

    So, as I try to do my best to stay in shape and fight the bulge, I'm stuck with a lacking cardio program. I've tried the elliptical but, it doesn't do anything for me... just not the same. So, I'm wondering... how about cycling? I've given it a try a few times but it seems... I dunno, too easy.

    Anyone here ride a bike or the cycle at the gym opposed to running? I've tried all the obvious remedies to shin splint pain. Custom fitted shoes, stretching, inserts, etc to no avail.

    Any suggestions or options are welcomed.
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    Strengthen your tibialis anterior and it'll likely provide immediate relief. I've posted on it a couple of times in these forums. If you search, you'll probably find my solution (it's worked for me and many others).

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    Hi ArmyDiver,
    Have you thought of swimming to stay in shape and fight the bulge?
    Last year I hurt my ankle while running and doctor advice me to do swimming as my ankle hurts while running.

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    Swimming is great. Try swimming up and down an Olympic sized pool for the first time and you are gassed. Total body workout and its addicting.

  5. #5
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    Another option - go see a doctor - could be as simple as going to physical therapy and having them do (and show you) intense stretching techniques - worked for a friend of mine.

  6. #6
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    There are different types of elliptical trainers. If you can get your hands on an ArcTrainer you should get a great workout. I ran a marathon last year in a pretty descent time and I only ran 3 times a week with my off days on the ArcTrainer and it worked fine for me.

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    I know this thread is a bit old, but figured I'd share since I had similar issues and found a solution. Every time I got back into running frequently, I would end up having to stop because I kept winding up with nasty shin splints that wouldn't go away.

    Anyhow, I ended up buying a pair of the Vibram 5 Finger shoes and haven't had ANY shin splints since using them when I run. They take a bit of getting used to, as it changes your running form a lot (no more heel-toe striking), but that's also why you shouldn't get shin splints from them.

    They're a little pricey, but I think they're more than worth their price if you have shin splint issues or want to run in a less stress-impacting motion as running with sneakers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyDiver View Post
    Title pretty much says it. I have been plagued with a borderline intolerable shin splint pain since the academy. I had issues with them during the military as well but not nearly to the level I do now. It's such an issue that I can barely walk after a longer run or a good hard sprint. Even after a good foot pursuit I find myself gimping back to the car and deal with the pain for about an hour afterward.

    So, as I try to do my best to stay in shape and fight the bulge, I'm stuck with a lacking cardio program. I've tried the elliptical but, it doesn't do anything for me... just not the same. So, I'm wondering... how about cycling? I've given it a try a few times but it seems... I dunno, too easy.

    Anyone here ride a bike or the cycle at the gym opposed to running? I've tried all the obvious remedies to shin splint pain. Custom fitted shoes, stretching, inserts, etc to no avail.

    Any suggestions or options are welcomed.

    Look up Compartment Syndrome symptoms of the lower legs.
    Last edited by thump; 02-26-2012 at 12:40 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    Look up Compartment Syndrome symptoms of the lower legs.
    Also look up "Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome" - the sports medicine doctor thought I had compartment syndrome; it took going to a vascular surgeon to find out what I really had.

    Could also be a stress fracture.

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    Stretching, no matter how intense, isn't going to strengthen the tiabilis anterior. Though it may elongate the soleus/gastyrocnemius and relieve the backward pressure they put on the shin bone. This would be temporary relief, at best.

    Vibram's 5-fingers will change a person's gait from a heel striker to a forefoot striker. This will place significantly less stress on the leg/knee and work the muscles of the lower leg differently than the traditional heel striker.

    Seeing a DR will confirm you have shin-splints. Then, what to do about them?

    Seeing a physical therapist will most likely help you strengthen your relatively weak tibialis anterior muscles (relative to the gastrocnemius and the soleus), or elongate your soleus/gastrocnemius via stretching.

    Or, you can save yourself the trouble and follow my free advice.

    By the way, Aerohead (and others), most of the time shin splints are stress fractures. They are caused by a gastrocnemius/soleus that is too strong for the weaker tibialias anterior, thereby pulling back on the shin bone. This causes the shin bone to form an arch, causing stress fractures (that are painful) on the front of the shin bone. The solution is to strengthen the tibialis anterior (the small muscle on the front of the shin bone) thereby restoring the natrual balance between the muscles on the back of the shin bone (gastrocnemius and soleus) with the muscle on the front of the shin bone (tibialis anterior). Remember, the primary leg muscle worked during running is the soleus, as it strengthens and the tibialis anterior remains the same, shin splints often develop. For most, it's really quite a simple solution.

    PS - I am not a doctor and am offering advice from my personal experience.
    Last edited by hopperja; 03-20-2012 at 01:48 AM.

  11. #11
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    I second the swimming notion. I'm an avid swimmer and was offered to swim at a large D1 university in my college days but turned it down. Eight thousand yards a night was the usual distance we swam on my club team. If you want a couple of drills or a nice routine with timed sprints and longer distance swims pm me. I'm sure I could help you out.
    Last edited by jbird25; 03-20-2012 at 06:07 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    Vibram's 5-fingers will change a person's gait from a heel striker to a forefoot striker. This will place significantly less stress on the leg/knee and work the muscles of the lower leg differently than the traditional heel striker.
    You need a break-in period with these shoes, if not, you WILL get injured. I own a pair and have never felt better while running but you need to take it slow at first.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyDiver View Post

    Any suggestions or options are welcomed.
    Some people hate to run (me included), some just not well set up for it, etc.

    Unless one needs to run (eg, for job, sport, etc) and or enjoys it, there's no particular reason to do it per se. unless one enjoys it - or is required to do it - there's no reason per se for running and equal or greater training effects can be had from other forms of training.

    Good shoes, good form, etc does go a long way to preventing injury for sure, but if you're lifting weights, doing MA, and other activities, I find more then occasional running = over training, OTS, nagging injuries, etc.

    I'd rather do less impactive, whole body, oriented stuff personally for conditioning.

    Specific to LE, when I do seminars for LE, I often ask how many of them run regularly. A good % raise their hand. I then ask how many regularly work on sprint (short distance) and or medium distance work.

    Virtually none raise their hand. I then ask "I now bolt out the door and you chase me, are we going to get into a 2k chase?"

    Answer is usually no... This gets across into their minds the importance of explosive movement, and that's exactly what most people will do when they run from danger or you.

    low intensity running (again) for GPP is fine if one enjoys it/needs it, but I don't feel it's essential as it relates to real life applications. We don't run our food down, etc. and long distances are normally covered via marching, which I personally enjoy in the woods in the summer, some times with sprint and or intermediate distance added if not carrying anything heavy.

    So, work the short distance stuff (sprints) and medium distance stuff, and work general conditioning/GPP via MA, whole body conditioning/GPP type work (see various threads, vids, etc here and at links below, etc), and some distance work when/if it fits in and or does not cause pain.

    Again, above advice not for people who's job/sport recs require distance running and performance standards to that. point 1.5 to that however, seen a lot of people start training as mentioned above, reduce their actual miles run, and notice no issues when they needed to perform/test at distances.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by WillBrink; 03-21-2012 at 03:17 PM.
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  14. #14
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    You can switch up exercises. Sometimes your body aches as it gets used to the workout. Stop doing the exercise that hurts for a few days, but don't stop exercising completely. Just try something else in the meantime.

  15. #15
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    I started using the ArcTrainer due to knee and hip pain from running too much. So far after a week my knee pain is almost gone and my hip pain is gone. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to running soon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbird25 View Post
    I second the swimming notion. I'm an avid swimmer and was offered to swim at a large D1 university in my college days but turned it down. Eight thousand yards a night was the usual distance we swam on my club team. If you want a couple of drills or a nice routine with timed sprints and longer distance swims pm me. I'm sure I could help you out.
    I agree with swimming. I had done competitive swimming for 10 years and its one of the best and safest exercises. Its one of the only aerobic exercises that works your whole body, it helps burn fat while the water resistance keeps lean muscle, and it helps control your breathing. Im big on listening to music while exercising, and you can even get a type of music player that can be used underwater so you can listen to music as swimming can get repetitive if your not that passionate about it. It puts no stress on your legs as running would, and it works your upper body as well as lower. Alot of people dont realize it while seimming because theyre surrounded by water, but if you push yourself you sweat it out like you wouldnt believe.

  17. #17
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    There's no doubt swimming is good exercise, even arguably one of the best. Unfortunately for me, the time it would take to drive to/from a pool would double my workout time. With little kids at home and an odd work schedule, this isn't going to happen.

    If the OP wants to continue running, he must address the shin splints. I have already offered up how to do that. It takes little extra time to correct the shin splints and he'll be back to running in a week or two. This has been my experience as well as my wife's (she recently completed her first marathon). There are numerous other people who have successfully overcome shin splints by strengthening their tibialis anterior muscles as well.

    Personally, I prefer running over other cardio exercises because no matter how much I do it, it's still challenging. And, running requires little equipment.

    If the OP wants good exercise and doesn't care about being able to run for any distance, there are tons of options. For cardio, kettlebell interval training is amazing (swings mainly). Jump rope is more intense than running and has less impact on the human body (I do it to intervals).

  18. #18
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    I will say this. When I started to run, never been much of a runner, I was having terrible pain in my left outer front leg area, left of the shin bone. It was as if the muscle was getting way too large and had no more room to expand. It hurt to the point that I would run just a little and then walk home.

    The cure I found? I kept at it. I know that sounds like a bad idea, but I really think it was a weak or overcompensating muscle. I broke my right ankle when I was a kid (surgical repair) and I think that all these years the other leg was doing more work subconsciously.

    But, pushing through it is not bad. When I start running I can feel it and after a little bit it's like it just goes away. One other thing I changed was I went to Fila Skele-toes shoes....LOVE those things....

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