I was ignoring it at first but finally have to come to terms with the fact that despite all my caution, sigh...I have medial tibial stress syndrome, aka shin splits. More disturbing is that so much of the information out there kind of leaves you hanging in regards to what you should do next.
So MTSS occurs when there is too much stress put on your tibia suddenly, as in with a new training program. It turns out that what seems like 'just shin splints' are actually a kind of stress on the bone itself, not just the muscles. Which means, ignoring it and overtraining can land you in stress fracture land. So what to do?
Ideally, you let your bone build itself up to deal with the stress of a new running program. On the one hand bone remodeling can take up to a month but on the other, the idea of resting for a whole gd month sounds insane and counterproductive. Also, because of the way bone remodeling works, your bones are actually more vulnerable during this process.
Going off along the physiology tangent, bone remodeling is super cool. Osteoclasts, which are actually derived from white cells, break down bone with hydrochloric acid which dissolves the mineral component and lysosomal enzymes break down the organic parts. Then osteoblasts follow and secrete the ground substance and collagen fibers which will be the organic matrix and in a week or so inorganic salts crystallize within said matrix. Once these little guys are totally surrounded by this stuff, they become regular osteocytes, or bone cells.
Back to running...
After much research, I came across this article from the blog Running Writings which was extraordinarily helpful. It doesn't seem like I have to stop completely, just take it easy with pace and back off of increasing mileage for little while. Which I guess is ok.
so take away:
- Reduce the volume, intensity and/or frequency of runs
- Work on strengthening calf muscles every day
- Take your vitamins!