Shin Splints

Q: I like to run but lately I've been experiencing shin splints. It's quite painful. Do you have any advice?

A: The obvious solution is to stop running, but since there are some fanatics who insist on deteriorating their joints for that elusive 'high', we must consider other options. Get some Active Release (ART) as soon as you can. My associate, Dr. Bill Wells, claims to have a 100% success rate with patients who experience carpal tunnel syndrome and shin splints. So, that would be your first step (pardon the pun!) Next, you need to strengthen the muscles on the front of your shin by performing dorsiflexion exercises where you flex the foot up towards the knee (the opposite of heel raises.) Either use a cable apparatus by hooking/strapping your feet to a low-pulley, or try the movement on a leg curl machine. Since the tibilias anterior is primarily comprised of slow-twitch or endurance fibers (averaging 73% Type I fibers according to Colling), I suggest performing these exercises for a low number of sets (only 1 or 2) but with a high number of reps (even as high as 100) on a daily basis. An old Italian trick is to buy slippers about two sizes too big and walk around the house with them. They also make useful weapons as I found out during my youth ... my grandfather had iron shins to boot!