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Old 07-13-08, 07:19 AM   #1
okrobie
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Shin Splint from cycling?

Hello, I have a shin splint in my right leg which is very painful when I walk, but is painless when I pedal. I don't remember doing anything that would injure my leg otherwise. Since cycling is the only activity I do with much energy, I have to conclude that I've injured it while riding. I began feeling it on Thursday morning before a ride, but I hadn't been riding since Monday. I did a little riding around the parking lot to test it out and since it didn't hurt, I decided to ride. I went on a 35 mile ride without pain. The average speed was 14.7 mph with one burst up to 23. Most of the rest of the ride varied between 14 and 18. The leg has hurt continuously since then except when I am resting or sleeping.

I'm wondering how long this thing is going to hurt and what I should do for therapy. One person has advised me to work through the pain by going for walks and stretching, but it feels better to rest it.

I don't have a choice about some walking since I have three dogs and they need their excercise. I don't feel worse after a walk with the mutts even though it is moderately painful during the walks. Should I follow my friends advice and increase my walking and stretching?

I'm just getting back to cycling after an absense of over 10 years so I'm also wondering how to prevent this from happening again. I must admit I'm not very good at spinning and tend to go to higher gears but I don't feel any pain when doing so. I don't have a way to measure cadence.

I definitely qualify to be in this forum since I am 66.

Thanks for any experience you have had with shin splints. Jim

Last edited by okrobie; 07-13-08 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 07-13-08, 10:44 AM   #2
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Jim, there are many forms of shin splints, as you can see by searching at a site like webmd. I'd advise having it checked out by a doc, because in my case the particular type I have is not helped by stretching. Ice always helps.
Here's my biking/shin splint story: I rode a recumbent up a long steep hill (10 mile ride, mostly up) on a club ride. On a 'bent you can't stand to pedal, so to get extra power on steep grades I pulled with one foot while pushing with the other. After this ride I developed shin splints in one of my shins, because pulling uses the muscle in the front of your shins. I got it diagnosed as "anterior tibial periostitis" which means the outer layer of bone on the front of my tibia is inflamed, because that's where the muscle tendon attaches. The doc recommened ice and lots of ibuprofen. I find that with that treatment that I can get it under control, but it's always ready to flare back up if ever I overdo on a ride. Like you, mine never hurts while riding, it just gets whiny later. I can get it "unflared" in a week or so of taking it easy, and then it can be pretty quiet for months, but it never completely goes away. It's been 3 years now. I sincerely hope yours goes away sooner than that!
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Old 07-13-08, 10:50 AM   #3
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Jim, there are many forms of shin splints, as you can see by searching at a site like webmd. I'd advise having it checked out by a doc, because in my case the particular type I have is not helped by stretching. Ice always helps.
Here's my biking/shin splint story: I rode a recumbent up a long steep hill (10 mile ride, mostly up) on a club ride. On a 'bent you can't stand to pedal, so to get extra power on steep grades I pulled with one foot while pushing with the other. After this ride I developed shin splints in one of my shins, because pulling uses the muscle in the front of your shins. I got it diagnosed as "anterior tibial periostitis" which means the outer layer of bone on the front of my tibia is inflamed, because that's where the muscle tendon attaches. The doc recommened ice and lots of ibuprofen. I find that with that treatment that I can get it under control, but it's always ready to flare back up if ever I overdo on a ride. Like you, mine never hurts while riding, it just gets whiny later. I can get it "unflared" in a week or so of taking it easy, and then it can be pretty quiet for months, but it never completely goes away. It's been 3 years now. I sincerely hope yours goes away sooner than that!

+1 on many different types and that ice always helps. BTW, this may be the first time I ever heard a bent rider admit to an injury caused by riding the bent.
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Old 07-13-08, 12:57 PM   #4
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Had a 6 month lay off the bike- other than a couple of shorter rides towards the end. Did a 40 miler with great success after that length of lay off and finished the ride. Put the bike on the back of the car and sat down to change shoes. Stood up and shin splints. Had to walk to the car in great pain and I did not know what it was. Doctors next day and it was him calling on me. As he said- It was not the cycling that caused it but the 6 month lay off and the enthusiasm of tackling those 15% hills on an unfit set of legs.
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Old 07-13-08, 04:30 PM   #5
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+1 on many different types and that ice always helps. BTW, this may be the first time I ever heard a bent rider admit to an injury caused by riding the bent.
Yeah I'll probably be drummed out of the bentrider corps because of this
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Old 07-14-08, 02:13 AM   #6
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Spin, don't mash. Select a lower gear than you would normally use. Avoid the walking as much as possible. Shin splints are I think a problem associated with the illliotibial band, a major fibrous band that runs from the hip, down outside the knee and into the shin bone. I've suffered from shin splints from walking, but only knee ITB issues while riding. The problem is not one that will go away in days. Weeks with appropriate attention.
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Old 07-14-08, 04:37 PM   #7
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Well the pain continues so I went to the doctor today. He confirmed that it was indeed a torn muscle, probably caused by overexertion. That confirms everything that you all have been saying. he said to take it easy so it will be up to my wife to walk the dogs for a while. She is not thrilled by that prospect.

It really flared up today after my dog walk, which prompted me to go to the doctor. It was swollen and had lumps in the sore area. In addition, I got an ultrasound doppler scan to rule out blood clots.

If I feel well, I plan to ride on Thursday, but it looks like I will be in the second group, spinning and not mashing.

Thanks to all for your insites and experience with this problem. Jim
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Old 07-14-08, 06:54 PM   #8
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Having suffered through these pains while I ran track and XC I sympathize with your anguish. The spinning advice is the best I have heard for cycling. In XC we used a strengthining exercise/stretch by hanging a light weight from our toes and flexing the foot up and down slowly for 25 reps. It helped me and I got the splints bad enough as a college freshman in college to end up on crutches for 2 weeks. Best of luck

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