Are you a runner or trail runner? Have you ever had to deal with shin splints and found a successful way to deal with them? If so, I need your help.
I recently decided to get back into running with the goal of doing a 5K run in the coming months, then gradually moving up to longer runs and maybe even a Tri. It's a lofty goal, for me at least, and I'm only just getting started. I'm deliberately taking it easy using the couch to 5K program to ease myself back into running longer distances over several weeks because of my problem with shin splints. Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) occurs during physical activity and results from too much force on the shinbone and connective tissues attaching muscles to it. I've also had several surgical procedures on my Achilles tendon and have totally flat feet - so I have lots going on to deal with.
Progress So Far
I'm currently in week two of the nine-week couch to 5K program and had the second of my week-two runs this morning. I don't know whether it was because this run was my first early morning run, until now I've only run in the evenings, but about half way through my 3.2-mile run I hit a wall with the shin splint pain in my left leg. I couldn't continue the short run sprints and had to finish the distance walking. I was really disappointed.
I've read all sorts of articles about how to deal with the problem of shin splints, but have not found anything that has worked for me. I recently went to a Run for Your Life store and got properly fitted for good running shoes. I made a point of telling the person helping me that I have flat feet, very flat feet. I ended up with a very comfortable pair of moderately cushioned Ascis running shoes (shown above). But even after getting fitted and using my new "better" shoes for two weeks, the shin splints are not subsiding as fast as I had hoped. Which leads me to how you can help.
What do you recommend that I try to in order to deal with my shin splints problem? At this point I'm willing to think a little more radically and I'm even considering transitioning to a barefoot/minimal running shoe to see if that helps. Damien at Toe Salad suggested I try a minimal shoe and even sent me a link to a great post about how to make the transition - but I'm not entirely convinced, yet. I also just spent $$ on a new pair of running shoes.
At the moment I'm only running very short distances so it is probably the perfect time to make a change. What experience have you had with minimal running shoes or dealing with shin splints? If you have any advice I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.