RT has asked top Aussie distance runner and Osteopath, Stephen Dinneen to answer some of the most common questions runners have along their journey. Click the link bellow to read more about Steve and the Doncaster Osteopathic Clinic & Wellness Centre.
Here is the first question for Steve-
Steve I’ve got some pain in my shins and am worried I could have shin splints or even a stress fracture. It seems to be getting slowly worse and aching at times, but I can stand the pain. I’ve got a half marathon coming up in a week which I’ve been training for months for. I know I can finish it, and it’s been a big focus for me. I know everyone’s different and I should see a specialist, but I fear the outcome. Should I run the race? What should do I?
I don’t believe there is a straight forward answer to this. I have been both an athlete trying to seek the right advice in the past as well as being the treating osteopath providing it. I now tackle this problem by explaining to the athlete what their injury is, the options for treatment, a rough time frame and discuss the cons and pros, treatments and returning to racing/training. Training may involve reducing the amount of running, altering sessions/surfaces, stop running all together and/or cross training options.
When athletes coming in what they think is suspected shin splints, my initial treatment would go something like thus;
– Firstly going over their training program, as too often a poor training program is the key reason a runner/athlete develops shin splints. It is important to discuss their program and how it may need to be altered to reduce the risk of injury. Correct foot wear is also important so I would discuss footwear and check the wear pattern on the client’s runners to see if it may be another contributing factor. You need to get a clear understanding of where the client is with regard to the importance of this running event and looking at their short and long term goals. How important is it if they run or not, and what are the cons and pros of them running or not running.
– After chatting to the client, the next step is usually a physical assessment to further develop my diagnosis and a treatment plan. Being an osteopath, a holistic approach is taken as the shin pain may be a symptom, of an underlying cause. I would be assessing things such as muscle imbalances, muscle tightness/strength, lower limb biomechanics, joint range of motion, pelvic/spinal/leg alignment. Once I have enough information I should have my treatment plan ready and can begin treating. Apart from treatment at the clinic, I usually have clients do some home rehabilitation involving stretches, spikey ball, heat application to muscles, ice massage, altered running program and possibly some cross training. This is to help speed up the recovery and reduce the chances of future injury.
In terms of answering whether you should race, it is dependent on the information I get. But at the end of the day, the final decision rests with the client, with my opinion being hopefully a key influence. At the end of the day, you want to do what is best for your body and in most cases, continue to run (I hope!). Don’t fear seeing someone about your injury. The worst thing you could do is avoid the underlying issue and cause it to worsen.
You could get treatment/assessment and it could improve your symptom in time for your race, but if you need to, you could always do a different race – it could lead to a better result if your injury has improved.
We’d like to give a massive thank you to Steve for his words off wisdom. You can read his RT Journals and Interviews by using the Runner’s Tribe search function at the top of the page. Steve is sponsored by Brooks.
If you have a running question which you’d like answered email-
If your question is selected to be answered, you will receive a free Runner’s Tribe/New Balance running singlet. Your question can be on any aspect of running ie training, injury, racing, diet etc…