March 28, 2017

Do You Need to Wear an Orthotic All the Time? 7 Points on Foot Support

Support is one of the most overused terms in running. You have support shoes, maximum support shoes, arch supports, metatarsal supports, etc. But how is the foot really being supported? That is a good question. Another good question is who needs this support? And if you do need foot support, do you need it all of the time? View full article →
January 12, 2017

I Blew It! Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

The holiday season is a time when according to some studies the average American gains 5 pounds! Remember, it is far harder to lose those 5 pounds than it is to not gain them in the first place. So, now the question becomes: how do you get your nutrition plan back on track, as well as prepare for the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? Here are 7 tips if you have “blown it!” View full article →
November 12, 2015

7 Things You Need to Know About Shin Splints

Most people know them as shin splints, but they are technically referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Also, shin splints have been incorrectly labeled anterior compartment syndrome. For a full discussion of the terminology and anatomy, Massage Today has an excellent article on these subjects, should you be so inclined. But for our purposes, shin splints are exercise-related pain in the shins, either down the front of the leg or down the inside of the leg. It may be caused by an irritation of the tendons and muscles near the shin bones. This injury is most often seen among runners and can be extremely painful.

Shin Splints

Of course, most runners really don’t care about the technical aspects of shin splints; they want to know how to get rid of them and not have them come back! So, let’s look at 7 things you need to know about shin splints.

  1. It’s easier to not get shin splints than it is to get rid of them! You remember that old say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It is very true of shin splints. Using proper footwear, strengthening the foot and lower leg, stretching, and doing some specific drills can keep you shin splints-free (more about those later.). But, if you ignore this warning and get shin splints, what do you do next? 
  1. The best news is that in most cases shin splints hurt a lot more than do damage. Only in very rare cases (usually in women) do they lead to stress fractures. The bad news is that shin splints can be chronic and take a very long time to heal. The treatment at the onset of shin splints is to discontinue running (possibly substituting the elliptical trainer, cycling etc.), ice, and judiciously use anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen. If possible, do not attempt to return to running before the inflammation goes away. Initially, a trip to the doctor is not usually necessary, as self-diagnosis is pretty straightforward.
  1. Before returning to running, it is very important to figure out what caused the shin splints in the first place. Generally, runners with a structural imbalance or irregularity, such as foot placement (usually overpronation or underpronation), are predisposed to shin splints. With overpronation, the runner’s foot flattens out causing a pulling in the shin area. With underpronation, there is insufficient shock absorption because of a more rigid foot, causing more stress to the shin area. Other causes of shin splints include an imbalance between the calf muscles and the shin muscles, too many miles on hard surfaces, and running in inappropriate footwear, especially track spikes.
  1. Once the cause has been identified, a trip to a running specialty store for new shoes may be in order, as well as the purchase of some shoe inserts to correct structural imbalances and support the foot. For more on shoes, check out our article, If the Shoe Fits..., and for much more on supports we have What's in a name? A Primer on Inserts, Orthotics, and Arch Supports and 7 Points of Foot Support. Once you have the footwear and foot support aspects figured out, you then need to work on the leg and foot.
  1. Assuming you don’t have an “A” race or a key track meet scheduled this weekend, it is best to not try to run until the pain and inflammation are resolved. Once that has been achieved, I recommend the following protocol:
  • Do “Charlie Chaplin” or foot drills daily before running. They are so named because you will resemble the “Little Tramp” while doing them. An excellent resource explaining these drills can be found at org. These drills are amazingly effective when done CONSISTENTLY, including before you get shin splints and after they go away.
  • Do calf stretching. I recommend doing both the standard heel-drop Achilles stretch, as well as doing the heel-drop stretch and then slowly moving the knee forward to stretch the rest of the calf muscles. I find using stairs or a curb to be the most effective, though some like to use a ProStretch 
  • Those people who are prone to shin splints are also the same ones who seem to be predisposed to Plantar Fasciitis. So now would be a good time to integrate rolling a golf ball 20 minutes each day with each foot. This technique massages out the knots in the fascia and helps to prevent plantar fasciitis. Again, better to not get it than to have to get rid of it.
  • Wear compression socks or calf sleeves. These are garments that are tightly woven and provide support to the shins and calves. They are not a cure-all, but do provide some relief and help with inflammation. There are many brands of compression wear now, but I am somewhat partial to the SLS3
  • Reintroduce running gradually. Don’t try to push through the pain. If possible, try to train on softer surfaces, such as trails, for a while. A good, conservative protocol to begin activity again can be found at Return to Running. Also, check out our 4-part series on returning to running after a long layoff at The Long Road Back.

For more informative articles, check out our blog page at Stridetek.com, as well subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Articles are posted there regularly on a variety of topics. Also, our popular half-marathon training article and training plan are available at StrideTek Half-Marathon Training Plan.

November 12, 2015

Ironman World Championship: A Primer

The NBC coverage of the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii will air on Saturday, November 14, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. ET. The Ironman World Championship special is a condensed version of the eight-hour pro race, and also focuses on inspiring stories of age-groupers and celebrity participants. View full article →
November 12, 2015

Full Stridetek Half Marathon Training Plan

Here is the complete Stridetek Half Marathon Training Plan - all in one place! View full article →
November 11, 2015

Wearable Technology for Runners - A Breakdown of GPS Devices

Many people are drawn to running because of its minimalist nature. Shoes and shorts are all that are really needed (a shirt may be added for modesty). But thinkers are often drawn to running, and thinkers like numbers. So where do those numbers come from? View full article →
November 05, 2015

Stridetek's Core Technology

Stridetek's Core technology was discovered by George Anderson of the Raiders, widely regarded as the pioneer of modern athletic training.  Watch this video to learn about the philosophy and technology that went into creating Stridetek products. 

 
November 01, 2015

Weeks 1-5 Stridetek Half Marathon Training Plan - Let's Do This!

StrideTek is proud to announce that it will be sponsoring a unique 16-week training plan leading up to a PR (personal record) in the half-marathon! This training plan will debut on Monday, November 2nd, and will be released in three 5-week blocks, plus race week. Best of all, this training plan will bedifferent than you are used to, but it has been very successful in taking distance runners from being merely “finishers” to being much more competitive. View full article →
October 29, 2015

What's In a Name? A Primer on Inserts, Orthotics, and Arch Supports.

Running shoes. Pretty much everybody knows what those are. But what about orthotics, arch supports, gel inserts, cushion inserts, arch cushions, heel pads, heel cups, etc.? It seems like those terms are used somewhat interchangeably. So why does any of this matter? The answer is that it can be confusing and overwhelming when suddenly faced with an injury situation that may require more than just a new pair of shoes. View full article →
October 27, 2015

Trail Running with World Class Climber Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold climbs rocks - really, really big rocks. Recently he climbed the 2000 ft. face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park WITHOUT A ROPE. He truly is a world class climber and is changing the perception of climbing with the general public. So what does he do when he needs to blow off steam and reset?  He runs trails.  "Sometimes it's just nice to run," he continues. "Like a kid." View full article →
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