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  1. #1
    Registered User Juice's Avatar
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    Default Shin splints with less than a month

    Just finished a 40 mile shakedown hike this weekend and came down with some gnarly shin splints. I've got plans to start a thru on March 24th, am I screwed?
    Buy the ticket, you take the ride. - Hunter S. Thompson

  2. #2
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    No, but rest up. Then when you go back out there take shorter strides and build up your mileage slowly.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Juice View Post
    Just finished a 40 mile shakedown hike this weekend and came down with some gnarly shin splints. I've got plans to start a thru on March 24th, am I screwed?

    You are not screwed. Your stride pace is probably too fast. I had shin splints a few weeks into my thru and had to rest up a few days. The best thing to heal up in my experience was to get extra sleep. The thing that helped the most in terms of avoiding a relapse was actually slowing the pace down, not taking long lurching strides and just generally taking it easier. I had to get over my tendency to push myself. It was a good thing for much more than just avoiding shin splints.

  4. #4
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
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    You'll be fine by then but this is a really good red flag that you'll be prone to getting shin splints on the trail. Take it slow on the flat and downhills. If you do get shinsplints while on the trail you can do like I did and take 800mg of Ibuprofen twice per day (it worked for me and I had nasty shinsplints, twice) or take about a week off trail.

  5. #5
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Three things that will help (I've had shin splints several times):

    1) Keep your calf muscle well stretched when your hiking.

    2) Strengthen your calf muscles (this exercise is great: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/Gast...CalfRaise.html)

    3) Strengthen the muscles on the front of your shins: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/Tibi...CalfRaise.html (If you can't do it with your full body weight, do the exercise while leaning with your back against a wall and your feet about 1 foot out from the wall)

  6. #6
    Registered User Juice's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll rest for a few days then start stretching and these exercises.
    Buy the ticket, you take the ride. - Hunter S. Thompson

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    I use to get shin splints a lot when I ran, but they eventually went away one the muscle built up properly.

    In the meantime, I found a stretch that helped immensely (it focuses on the shin muscle):

    1) stand with you feet parallel at shoulder width.
    2) with you feet remaining flat on the ground, start squatting down and use your arms as a counter weight so you don't fall over backwards.
    3) once you get all the way to ground, hold it there for a while (don't bounce).

    Do that every so often and it should help keep you shins loose.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk

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    All of the above.
    ++ this:
    Ace Bandage...wrap for support for when it flares up while hiking and you've miles to go.
    If chronic, have it X-grayed. It has been known that hair-line fractures have/could occur.

  9. #9
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasco View Post
    In the meantime, I found a stretch that helped immensely (it focuses on the shin muscle):

    1) stand with you feet parallel at shoulder width.
    2) with you feet remaining flat on the ground, start squatting down and use your arms as a counter weight so you don't fall over backwards.
    3) once you get all the way to ground, hold it there for a while (don't bounce).
    Not to be a jerk, but this exercise sounds like it will put a lot of strain on your knees. From what I've read, many PTs and sports medicine types recommend against doing weight-bearing exercises where you bend your knee past 90 degrees. Also, there are much easier ways to stretch your calf muscles: http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Gastrocnemius/Wall.html

  10. #10

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    Build your shin muscles before you hike. Take a 5 lb plate weight and loop a small 2 foot rope thru the hole. Sit with feet about two feet off floor. Place rope over toes with weight hanging below shoe. Raise weight up and down. You will feel muscles working at your shins. Do this on a few times each week and the splints will disappear. You may need to add extra weight later

  11. #11

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    I don't know if will help get rid of them but to prevent them, I stretch as much as possible. In particular, I stand next to a curb or rock. point my toe down and push the top of my foot back. This stretches the muscles on front of my calf (or shin). Even while hiking, every stop I take I do the same stretch. I don't get them any more...

  12. #12
    Registered User Lea13's Avatar
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    There's really 2 basic types of "shin splints": one where it's related to those muscles that cross the front of your shin (Anterior Tibialis), and one where it's a problem with the actual bone of your shin (Tibia). They're both overuse injuries that mean you're pushing your body too hard, too fast.
    If it came on over the course of a weekend, it's probably your muscles, like most of the posts above suggest. Back off your exercise regiment a bit, rest, ice if you can, and ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory as well as a pain-reliever, so that should help too. Once you're feeling better, start working on strengthening those muscles gradually so your body can adjust. (40 miles with a weighted pack in a weekend would be a shock to almost anyone's system, even if you're fit)
    The type of shin-splints related to your bone is a bit more serious and usually takes longer to develop, but it's actually putting a lot of micro-fractures in the bone, weakening it and putting you at more risk for a serious fracture.

    I don't think you're screwed at all, just give your body a chance to recover and then try to find a balance in your training where you're still pushing yourself, but not wearing your body out. Best of luck!

  13. #13

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    Not sure if this was mentioned, but make sure the hiking shoe you wear is providing you with good support--a poor shoe can also contribute.

  14. #14
    Registered User d.o.c's Avatar
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    you should be fine just slow your roll..

  15. #15

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    Part of a shake down is more then gear related. It is BEST that you got them out of the way it will help with good milage right from the start. Just don't. Over due the rehab in the next few weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    ... this exercise sounds like it will put a lot of strain on your knees. From what I've read, many PTs and sports medicine types recommend against doing weight-bearing exercises where you bend your knee past 90 degrees. Also, there are much easier ways to stretch your calf muscles: http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Gastrocnemius/Wall.html
    That is a good stretch; however, if you can not do that squat you have mobility issues which you should work on.

  17. #17
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Rest up and take it easy on the start of the AT. You will probably average 10 miles in Georgia. I have seen a lot of people start out saying they will do monster miles and end up getting off the trail to injury or get sick of the 'pushing' of miles. The miles will come...as well as your fitness and strength as you body adjusts to the requirements of the trail. Pushing it may hurt yourself again. Also, go through your pack again and see what items you really need..you may be carrying too much weight. With the NOBO starting soon many lists are here with advice to shave pack weight. (If you have not already) Also it is a good idea to have a pack shakedown at Mountain Crossings in GA after a few miles on the trail to help hikers further...they ship tons of stuff back from hikers that had too much or unneeded stuff back home.

  18. #18
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    My experience, if you are in good shape, chill from now until 2 weeks from your hike, dial it up slowly, don't push it too hard, good advice above. I am leaving next weekend for my spring section hike...........have been dealing with some pretty serious pain, just started doing some hikes with a 25lb pack..........in the end this is all mental, if in good shape going into a hike you will be fine.

    The discipline is doing NOTHING but stretching, sit ups, push ups, etc..............unti you heal

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    Three things that will help (I've had shin splints several times):

    1) Keep your calf muscle well stretched when your hiking.

    2) Strengthen your calf muscles (this exercise is great: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/Gast...CalfRaise.html)

    3) Strengthen the muscles on the front of your shins: http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/Tibi...CalfRaise.html (If you can't do it with your full body weight, do the exercise while leaning with your back against a wall and your feet about 1 foot out from the wall)
    Above is solid advice. Understand this though: IF you do have shin splints (MTTS), ideally you would understand what actually caused it. It's much more prevalent in women for particular reasons for example. That would take a proper diagnosis (by you, medical professional, etc.). If you haven't had MTTS long, or repetitively then a diagnosis MAY be futile and rest is your best choice with the above advice following.

    The only reason that I even reply here is that depending on WHY you have shin splints, may necessitate specific treatments beyond what most would suggest here. Chin splints can actually lead to bone fractures as well.

    Rest well and best of luck.

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