Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poor Woman's Compression

An FYI before reading-- I'm not a physician nor a physical therapist. All of the information below came from either Google or my brain (neither of which can be completely trusted for authenticity or veracity).

Proceed, dear bloggies...

* * *

I went to Yahoo Answers (nach) and entered the following query:

"Shin Splints or Stress Fracture"

There were several responses to the general "which sport injury do I have" line of questioning...and due to the nature of Yahoo Answers I could find no consensus among the respondents.

I eventually turned my search over to the experts (ie wide open Google search).

Here's what I gleaned:

Shin Splints

What: Pain the front, outer leg...often described as "dull"

Why: Can be the result of inflammation to the posterior peroneal tendon, tightness in the calf muscle...can be caused by overuse and/or overpronation


  • Rest or "relative rest" (low/no impact exercise)
  • Icing
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Calf and anterior stretching

Stress Fracture

What: "Crescendo pain" that builds up during running, sometimes a specific point of tenderness in the leg

Why: Fracture to the tibia or fibula


  • 6-8 weeks of rest
  • I stopped reading about the treatment options after I read the first bullet

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point posted about the subject of stress fractures in feel free to check out her assessment.

The pain in my shin subsides as my run continues. I ice it and it feels better. It hurts the most in the mornings and immediately following a run. It does hurt when I walk, but randomly.

All signs point to shin splints, right?

I sure hope so.

This is my All Points Bulletin to anyone who has suffered from shin splints OR a stress fracture...enlighten me!

I've been wearing a youth sized soccer sock over my left leg all week to serve as compression and not only are they unprofessional, they are starting to smell.

Thanks in advance!


  1. After watching Biggest Loser this week, I am petrified I am going to get stress fractures now!!

    I hope yours is just a shin splint. I've had stress fractures in the arches of both feet before and it just felt like a throbbing foot cramp. Horrible.

  2. I have dealt with shin splints twice. The first time was when I first started running, and tried increasing my distance too quickly. For that I rested about a week, and increased more slowly when I went back to running. The second time I have attributed to needing new shoes. I hadn't increased distance, or speed, and out of nowhere, they were back. I bought a new pair of shoes, same make, just newer model, and changed nothing else and they went away.

    My shin splints were on both legs equally just to the outside of the shin bone. They hurt mostly while running, and would be more sore than really hurt the day after. Since your's seems to hurt less as you run, I'm not sure that it is splints, but it doesn't sound like a fracture either, although I have not had a fracture yet *fingers crossed* so I'm not sure what that would feel like, but would expect it to hurt more the longer you run as well. Hope that helps a little. :)

  3. d.a.r.: On both arches?! Oh no, what a nightmare!

    Tom: I'm starting to think it might be the shoes...I had them before I got this pair and then they went away. Now they are back!

  4. It sounds like you are suffering from shin splints. I had a nasty case of them during my first year of running (2000). The pain of mine would also subside eventually, as I ran. Nonetheless, the pain was sometimes terrible afterwards.

    It seems like the most important thing that I was instructed to do was to avoid hard running surfaces- streets, sidewalks, etc. And, really, that's good advice for any serious runner in any condition. Grass'n'dirt are the way to go! I think it has to do with the stabilizing function of the shin muscles.

    I was also instructed to walk on my heels, feet angled up as much as possible, for a distance of a couple hundred feet or so, everyday.

    Since then I've never had anything but mild, ignorable cases.

    As far as anti-inflammatories, I tend not to trust them, because all the ones I know of are also pain relievers. I avoid pain relief because I feel I ought to know exactly what kind of stress I'm putting on my body while I continue to use it. It's different if I'm bedridden... but if I'm still active I don't want to harm myself unncesarily. Or maybe I'm just curious... or masochistic ...

  5. Jake, I admire your "bring on the pain" attitude...but my blood is half Ibuprofen at this stage in my life. Good tip on the duck-walk!

  6. I know how you feel. It stinks to be in pain when trying to run. I found this article about shin splint exercises/prevention that might help...

  7. UGH I hate shin splits, they hurt so bad!

  8. I've only ever had minor shin splints that go away after a day of rest. maybe you just need to take a day off? don't overdo yourself, because otherwise it might take longer to heal! hope they get better, though!

  9. I have never dealt with shin splints before, so I won't be much help there :) I just wanted to say I hope your shins feel better soon!! If they keep hurting and don't seem to be getting better, you might have a doctor check them out just in case...