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 Post subject: Healing Shin Splint Folklore and Prevention
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 1:07 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:56 pm
Posts: 21
Location: San Diego
Remove from your mind the picture of toe running. If you march in place you'll notice that you land ball followed instantly by the heel of the foot which is about 2 inches in front of the back of your foot.

Running is marching in place and leaning slightly from the ankle and continuning to lift the knees and place the feet back down, you're moving. It about lifting your knees and not your whole body as you run.

In the early 80's I did a training program and research study to assist Marines at MCRD here in San Diego to land more lightly and Not on the back of the heels to alleviate lower leg injuries.


Healing Shin Splint Folklore and Prevention
by Austin Gontang,
September 25, 2000

Some folklore on shin splints and ways to think about what causes shin
splints. A different way to think about shin splints and some things to do
about them.

I continue to believe that the shin spints come more from the overstride and
the deceleration and then the overstretch of the shin which should be
relaxing but hasn't had time. It is then being stretched by the contracting
calf muscle. For me I define an overstride as landing on the back of the
heel of the shoe. If I were jumping up and down, I would never land on the
heels of my shoes nor on my heels if I were barefoot. So why run landing on
the heels...and by this I mean the back of the heels if one were barefoot.

For me the image remains that as I place my foot under my center of gravity,
the rest of my body is catapulted forward from that platform. This means
that the calf contracting isn't pushing the entire body weight forward. The
body weight has been catapulted forward by the glut/ham on the planted
foot(the platform), the thrust forward of the elbow/shoulder of the platform
side and the quad/psoas of the leg coming through to conterbalance the
torque of the platform side.

Anyway here, as you mentioned would show up in a few days, some of the shin
splint folklore which I have shared with several thousand people over the
past 2 decades. In case you didn't see the post above or didn't get others
on your ISP, I've compiled them:

Shin Splint Folklore by Ozzie
c. 2000 Austin "Ozzie" Gontang, Ph.D.

Folklore #1

Shin splints are from the posterior and anterior tibilis getting tight and
holding on and not letting go. Every step becomes a pain in the shins when
running. Remember that the problem may be the calf muscles which means the
shins have to work against muscles which only partially relax putting all
kinds of strain on the shin. See article mentioned in #3 below.

As you run, walk, let your toes relax. Often going up on the toes means the
shin is being elongated...and if it is tight and holding on, the calves have
to overcome the tightness in the shins...gradually the shins from being
overstretched, tighten even more...and then your body realizes that it is
even difficult to walk.

As you stand during your day practice standing so that you can wiggle your
toes at all times. Lean forward and notice how the toes dig in. That posture
can also be a problem spot for the shins which get chronically tight and the
running when the shins should be relaxing...that is when the calves are
contracting...the shins only partially relax and the pain is that of ripping
a muscle that doesn't want to let go.

The ultimate muscle though which we have all passed goes from 0 cm to 10 cm.
Now you realize the need to focus on relaxing as the crown pushes
against that muscle attempting to force it to go to 10 cm too quickly.
Breathing and relaxing can relax against that pressure. For the shins,
it's also teaching the shins to let go. Everyone (except a few of us)
attempt to strengthen and make the shin stronger rather than release the
tightened and bound shin muscles.

Folklore #2

Get on all fours on a carpeted floor with the feet off the edge of a step.
Place a tennis ball under one anterior tibialis. Keep most of the weight on
the other knee and hands. Move foot easily up and down as you put more
pressure on the tennis ball and roll it slowly over the belly of the shin
muscle. Do the other foot the same way. See which foot is giving you the
most pain.

Folklore #3a

See http://www.mindfulness.com/of1.asp. Face the railing. Turn the feet and
entire body so that it is 45 degrees to the bar. Place the anterior shin
over the bar so that the shin muscle and NOT the shin bone rest on the rail.
If rail is too high, use the middle rail. Slowly make a small circle with
the foot and slowly slide the shin down the railing. Do once or twice and
then switch, facing the rail but turning 45 degrees in the other direction
to do your other shin.

Remember if you go too hard, too fast, too much, you'll only end up causing
added problems as your muscle will tighten up even more to protect itself
from your intensity. Go for the grace.

Also remember that folklore means that if something doesnt' work for you,
give it no power or energy but rather find someone who makes sense and whose
folklore works for you.

Folklore #3b

One thing I've found over the years is that the peroneus, the muscle which
runs down the outside of the leg - it everts the outside of the foot - often
gets pulled and to protect itself it tightens- i.e. shortens. After the
healing of the ligaments around the ankle, that peroneus (longus and medius
portion) can remain in its semi-contracted state. which means it doesn't
fully relax when the posterior tibialis - its counterpart - lifts the inside
of the foot up.

Way to loosen it with someone else helping.

Have your partner start about 3 inches above the ankle bone. Hold as if you
are going to strangle - fingers wrap around the lower leg, thumbs pointing
toward each other or one thumb rests on the other thumb (if more pressure is

Have your partner use light pressure by pushing in with theirthumbs as you
make a small (emphasis on small), smooth (emphasis on smooth) circle. As you
makes small smooth circles with the foot your partner strangling your leg,
slowly slides the thumbs up the peroneus muscle.

The idea is that you can loosen the muscle from any adhesions and also you
can loosen up the fascia which may be holding the peroneus from relaxing and
going through it full range of motion.

Usually after 3 or 4 times of small circles and your partner holding, walk.
More often than not, you'll feel less pressure around the ankle as it can
move more freely due to the freeing of the peroneus higher up the
leg...which takes the tightness off the ankle area.

The peroneus and posterior tibialis are often called stirrup muscles as they
invert and evert the foot. They are also postural muscles and therefore slow
twitch, in that they help maintain correct posture when functioning

To do the same thing, face a railing with a middle railing (see picture from
web site). Turn your body 45 degrees and place the peroneus side of the leg
on the bar, usually the lower is better unless you're very tall. Do the same
foot movement as mentioned above to loosen the peroneus and the fascia which
may be constricting the ankle for its full range of motion.

Get back to us and let us know how it works. The web site picture where I
have a group of people using the railing to loosen the belly of the calf
muscle, gives you an idea of how to use the railing. The railing you want to
use is the middle railing: http://www.mindfulness.com/of1.asp

Folklore #3c

> I have for the last couple of weeks had a pain just above my right inside
ankle. If I hold up my leg and roll my foot to the inside, it causes the
ankle to hurt. Snip-----

If I had that pain I'd look first to see if the posterior tibialis had
tightened up in response to the hill work.

Second, I'd have the "deep tissue cross friction message" read: "Please do
some work on my peroneus, especially the longus; and show me a few ways of
how I might do that myself."

>From what you've said, I'd look at my form to see where I was landing on my
foot. I have been a strong proponent for ball/heel or midsole landing. That
way I know that there is no overstride. Probably you're getting some
overstride in you heavy workout, which causes the braking effect and causes
the problem you mention.

Folklore #4

I'd look at the posterior tibialis, that muscle behind the shin bone on the

1. You are seated
2. Left leg crossed on right thigh so outside of left leg rests on right
thigh about 3 or 4 inches above right knee.
3. place right thumb below left shin bone closest to you so it rests on the
posterior tibialis
4. Right hand rest on the shin bone.
5. Place the left hand next to the right hand on the shin bone so that the
left thumb rests on top of the right thumb.
6. Make small (emphasis on small) and smooth (emphasis on smooth) circles
with the left foot so there is no (spelled NO) jerkiness - otherwise
you're just straining tendon.
7. As you make the circle and the left toe goes downward, push in with the
thumbs. With each circle move the thumbs about a quarter of an inch further
up the leg.
8. Find the spot that creates most pain and push more lightly at that spot
so as not to create excrutiating pain and then move thumbs away first upward
and then away downward, pushing harder so that you can feel the muscle under
your thumbs let go.
9. If you push too hard, go too fast, wince the face, stop breathing because
of the pain, go too deep, you'll get the reverse of what you want.
10. What you want is that posterior tibialis to let go so that your circle
can move easily. Usually if it is bruised, the blood came from up above
where the muscle tear took place and gravity let it settle where the bruise
11. You'd like also to make sure that the posterior tibialis is not flush up
again the shin bone. There should be some space where your thumb can go up
that groove between the posterior shin muscle and the shin bone.

Orgradually work to get it back, since if it's not there, then your shin is
holding and probably the fascia won't allow the muscle to go through its
range of motion and also the micro tears of the muscle or at the muscle
tendon junction of the posterior shin muscle has scarred and also
decreases the range of motion for the posterior shin.

Let us know how it goes and what you learn so that we can all learn if my
folklore worked for you, or was just folklore that needed to be discarded
because it didn't work.

Good luck with your experiment of one. Also during my training runs I often
stop and work shins, calves, haves and quads loose so that my
training run might be broken up by 10 or 12 stops to massage out or rub out
the sore spots.

Check out the two articles listed and especially the pictures. I can use
almost anything along my running path to assist me as a tool to release or
massage tight muscles:


Ozzie Gontang
Maintainer - rec.running FAQ
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/by-newsgroup/r ... nning.html
Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic, est. 1975

Mindful Running http://www.mindfulness.com/mr.asp

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:14 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:41 am
Posts: 130
i went to physio therapy a few weeks ago just twice and folklore #4 was used in the same way except he was doing it. I do it now, helps a lot. Very useful information you have posted especially since shin splints are my #1 enemy

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:16 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:41 am
Posts: 130
yeah i get like a bruises sometimes in the inside of my shin and that massage makes it go away, hail folklore.

 Post subject: Re: Healing Shin Splint Folklore and Prevention
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:32 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:38 pm
Posts: 1
I'm quite aware of the age of this post, but I wanted to come on here to thank ozziegontang for this awesome list of facts/folklore. I'll be honest -- I don't know too much about shin splints, and I was experiencing a great deal of pain around the aforementioned areas. My mom was actually the one who suggested that it may be a shin splint; to which I decided to do my homework and I managed to find this thread. Good ol' Yahoo. LOL.

Anyway, if it is what I think it is (a shin splint), then I've gotta figure out how to deal with these annoying leg pains. This may seem like an odd question, but do any of you think an ankle support device or ankle brace would alleviate some of those pains? They're pretty close to one another (ankles and shins), so I figured one may very well effect the other. Either way, thanks for the info. Very much appreciated! =)

 Post subject: Re: Healing Shin Splint Folklore and Prevention
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:02 pm
Posts: 1
i personally had to deal with this type of injury... and that's what i found
Previously, two different treatment management strategies were used: total rest or a "run through it" approach. The total rest was often an unacceptable option to the athlete. The run through it approach was even worse. It often led to worsening of the injury and of the symptoms.
Currently, a multifaceted approach of "relative rest" is successfully utilized to restore the athlete to a pain-free level of competition.

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