Section 10

Part 3


SYMPTOMS—Pain in the shins of one or both legs. There may, or may not, be a specific area of tenderness; pain, and aching will be felt in the front of the lower leg after, or during, activity.

CAUSES—The experts are not clear as what shin splints are. They may be an irritation to the tendon which attaches the muscle to the bone. Or they may be a muscle irritation or the beginning of a stress fracture.

Active people have shin splints. For example, 28% of long distance runners have them and 22% of aerobic dancers.

They are caused by excessive walking, running, or jumping on a hard surface. But other factors include poor shoes, fallen arches, insufficient warm-up, poor posture, faulty walking and running techniques, or overstraining.

Sometimes the early stages of stress fractures are thought to be shin splints or vice verse. But there is a difference: Stress fractures begin pinpoint pain, about the size of a dime or quarter, around or on a bony area. A shin splint is a generalized pain or aching discomfort up and down the whole shin. But, if the problem is not stopped, shin splints can develop into stress fractures.


• Athletic trainers call it RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Do this for 20-30 minutes. Prop up the leg, wrap it with an Ace bandage, and place the ice pack on it for 20-30 minutes.

• An alternate method is a contrast bath of one minute, of ice, followed by a minute of heat. Do this for at least 12 minutes. This is especially good for pain in the inner leg (rather than the front where the shin splints occur).

• Massage the area near the shin splint pain, but not on it. If you rub on it, the inflammation will worsen. Sit on the floor and lightly stroke on the sides several times. Then wrap your hands around the calf and, with your finger tips, stroke deeply around on each side of the shin from ankle to knee. Do the entire area, pressing as deeply as possible.

• Try to correct flat feet or very high arches, if you can. They can also cause shin splints.

PREVENTION—Try to avoid a lot of hard activity on unyielding surfaces, such as concrete. Even carpet on concrete can cause problems. Grass or dirt is better than asphalt; asphalt is better than concrete.

Wear good, comfortable shoes; and when they start wearing down, buy new ones.

Stretch your calves and Achilles tendon frequently. This helps prevent shin splints. Shortened calf muscles throw more weight and stress forward to the shins.

To stretch your calves, place your hands on a wall, extend one leg behind the other, and press the back heel slowly to the floor. Do this 20 times, and repeat on the other leg.

To stretch your Achilles tendons, have both feet flat on the ground, about 6 inches apart. Bend your ankles and knees forward while keeping the back straight. When you achieve tightness, hold it for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

ENCOURAGEMENT—Only by following Christ's example can we have genuine happiness. He alone can strengthen us for the trials of life; He alone can guide us through them.


SYMPTOMS—Pain in a tendon. Whereas simple muscle soreness soon goes away, tendon pain can continue on for some time.

CAUSES—A tendon is used in the same repetitive motion while ignoring initial indications of tiredness.


• When this occurs, you have to stop the activity for a time, even though that activity is your primary employment or sport (window washing, long-distance swimming, etc.).

• But do not rest too long, or the muscle tends to atrophy. And while you are resting, do not do absolute rest.

• Soak in a warm bath or a whirlpool bath. Warm the tendon before stressful activity decreases the soreness.

• Place a warm, damp towel over the area (knee, etc.). Put plastic over that, a heating pad on top, and finally a loose elastic bandage. Keep it in place for 2-6 hours, with the pad set on low. During this time, try to keep the injured part higher than your heart.

• An alternate method is to wrap the painful area in an Ace bandage, but not too tight or kept on too long. Proper circulation must be maintained.

• Raise the affected area, to help control swelling.

• Before a workout, carefully warm up. This is important. The tub bath, mentioned above, can precede the warming-up exercises out in the field.

• Before hard exercise, carefully stretch your muscles, to limber them up. Stretching helps prevent the shortening which accompanies exercise.

• Ice can be placed on the area after exercise, to reduce swelling and pain. But those with diabetes, heart disease, or problems with blood vessels, should be cautious about using ice. It can constrict blood vessels and loosen clots.

• If possible, switch to a different exercise format for a time. (Runners can switch to cycling, etc.)

• Strengthen your muscles generally.

• Whatever your activity, take breaks occasionally and walk around or do something differently. This helps relax your body and improves circulation. Breathe deep and enjoy life for a moment.

ENCOURAGEMENT—The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with His glory. He will help all who will surrender their lives to Him.

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