Shin Splints: Why do they happen?

Posted by brianpeacock @brianpeacock, May 26 8:34pm

My apologies for the introduction of this topic during this ongoing pandemic, which has far more serious implications. However, it may be of interest to some. Yesterday I rode my bike 10 miles and, because of a gear malfunction, I walked 5 miles home. Now I have shin splints (I think). It hurts! I'm pretty sure that it is not a stress fracture. I was wearing running shoes and I am the veteran of 80+ marathons and more than 60 years of competitive running, without ever having an injury. I am addressing the injury with Ibuprophen, gentle stretching, and rest for two or three days. My very simple question for this forum is "why did this happen.?"

Hi @brianpeacock, I moved your post to the Bones, Joints & Muscles group and the Healthy Living group to help you connect with others who may have some experiences to share with you.

According to this article by Mayo Clinic, two causes seem to fit your situation:
"You suddenly increase the duration, frequency or intensity of exercise
You run on uneven terrain, such as hills, or hard surfaces, such as concrete"
– Shin Splints https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shin-splints/symptoms-causes/syc-20354105

While you're fit and used to running, you were cycling and then unexpectedly had to walk 5 miles I assume on a hard surface. This was a sudden change of duration and a different action or intensity than you were prepared for without pre-stretching or warm up. I'm not a sport medicine specialist, but have suffered shin splints. Hard surface and prolonged walking can cause them for me if I don't stretch mid-way.

Do you have any medical conditions that make you susceptible to shin splints? As a runner have you experienced them before?

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