I walked Yesterday, Why Can’t I Walk Today? by Ashton Jones
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Picture this: It’s been a long, dreary, cold-ish winter (Hey, it’s Georgia, after all). The weekend has arrived and it is beautiful, warm and sunny. You throw on last year’s comfortable flip flops and head out for a long, relaxing walk. Everything is great until you wake up the next morning… you step out of bed and feel a sharp, stabbing, achy pain running along the front of your shin from below your knee cap down to your ankle, or maybe even your toes!?
You are experiencing the symptoms of medial tibial stress syndrome, aka shin splints. This is a condition that occurs when there is repeated stress applied to the connective tissue between the muscle and periosteum (bone tissue). The muscles that run along or attach to the front of your shin/tibia can become inflamed as repetitive motions, jarring, or pounding forces through your heel up to your tibia, or over-exertion of weak or atrophied muscles occurs.
Think about this: when you wear closed toe shoes, the shoe stays on your foot with the help of the material and laces. This allows the muscles of your foot, ankle, and lower leg to function in an efficient way and at a lower level of activity. To keep a flip flop on your foot, the anterior and intrinsic muscles of the foot, ankle, and lower leg must fire to keep the thin piece of leather between your toes and on your foot. While that may seem easy or simple, it’s not. Those muscles are now doing double duty as they try to work normally to walk AND keep your shoe on your foot. Each. And. Every. Step. And now you’ve just walked more in one nice day than you have, most likely, ALL winter!
Hello, Shin Splints!
So now what? Well, the first thing you are going to want to do is crawl back into bed and wait for the pain to go away. But, here’s a better idea… treat it and prevent it from coming back! R.I.C.E (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) is everyone’s best friend. There are several techniques for taping and compression during/after activity, but we can cover that later. For now, let’s focus on some basic exercises to strengthen the inefficient muscles. I’m going to let y’all in on a secret set of exercises. These should be done by everyone, everywhere. Whether your activity is walking, jogging, yoga, elliptical, swimming, spinning, Zumba, or just day to day life, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
The ankle 4-way. Perform each exercise for 15 repetitions. You can get a resistance band at Walmart, Target, or Amazon.
This is just the start of my secrets and I look forward to sharing more of my knowledge and experience with each one of you! Remember to start small with any new workout. It’s easier to add more the second time you do something versus having to take days off from over-exertion 🙂