Injury rant! (Shin splints)

Warning RANT

So basically I’ve been cycling for a couple of years but last year I couldn’t do anything because of work. I started a new job last year September and since then road ±9000km in 9 months. Focusing on trainingsplan with one major goal: riding the route of la marmotte solo this summer whilst on vacation in the Alpes.
Everything went how I planned, lost 14kg (going from 114kg to 100kg), rising my FTP (240W to 315W) and I stopped smoking. All good you might think, well yeah, until 1,5 week ago I had a weekend with the boys in the Ardennes. A mate and me decided to ride from Bruxelles to the Ardennes. It was a 170k ride with +2000 elevation meters. No problem, the legs felt fine. Later that weekend I started to feel some twitching in my shin, Saturday I really struggled during a long walk in the forest (definitely on the downhills). I decided to let it rest up for a week to give it time to heal. With the rest week behind me I decided to go for a spin yesterday. After 1hr @ 130W I had to call my friend to tell him I’ll be heading home because my shin was hurting again…

I leave Saturday for 2 weeks in de Alpes and I’m really frustrated because I’m not going to be able to ride the goal that I set out (170km, 5000 elevation meters).
First time ever that I really trained towards a goal, just to have an injury like this take it all away😭.

If somebody knows of some medication to get me trough my ride. Pharmacist gave me some ibuprofen & voltaren emulgel. Used it today, didn’t feel anything different. Tried swimming, shin started hurting after 15 minutes🙄. By the way I didn’t change anything to my bike set up or cleats or something like that…

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Unfortunately, outside of rest, ice & anti inflammatory there’s not much you can do.

It sounds like you’ve been to the doctor. Never heard of shin splints hurting while swimming, but I guess it’s possible.

Shin splints suck. Wishing you the best.

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Have you seen a doctor or orthopedic person. You could have a stress fracture if it’s not healing.

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I’ve not yet seen a doctor. Earliest I can get an appointment is after my vacation. So in the meanwhile I went to the pharmacist and explained my injury.
I doesn’t hurt when just walking or sitting still. I started hurting after 1hr of easy cycling and then it felt soar the rest of the day yesterday and today.

I had a really bad case while at a conference and finding out that the ‘workout room’ at the hotel only had 2 treadmills and I didn’t bring running shoes. I started jogging in my backup shoes on the tread for 45 minutes, and then had to cut it back to 15, and then OMG, the pain! I was having a hard time walking, standing, just doing anything. I woke up occasionally nearly crying because of the pain.

On the advice of the ‘live in doctor’, I stretched, iced and then hot packed, stopped jogging, raised my legs as much as I could, took Aleve like candy (every 4 hours) and amazingly got through the pain and was fine for the plane ride home.

But concentrating on not crossing my legs, elevating, stretching (very gently), Aleve (with a Tylenol chaser in the first couple of days, ice and then heat, and NO stairs really was the winner for me. But the pain I had was really something else on a different level. Wow. I’ll never do that again, I’d rather pack my running shoes and never use them then ever try running/jogging with street shoes. (Mine was all about running)

I’ve never gotten that from biking (yet), but I guess it’s possible. I’d recommend looking at front/back cleat placement for sure.

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Sounds like a pretty classic overuse injury. You say you rode about 1000km per month for 9 months (~230km per week). You then did a big unplanned 170km ride. That probably was too much for your body to handle and recover from. Listen to you body and back off until it’s fine. I wouldn’t go messing with equipment or fit if you were riding just fine before this

I’ve never had shin splints from cycling, just from running/basketball and mine have always been mild I suppose. My easy fix;

Reduce activity, walk on my heels for a few minutes multiple times a day. By walk on heels I mean toes pointed straight up as best you can and very short steps. It’s been my go to for over 20 years now. You’ll feel a pull in your calf muscles but the important part is working on the front of the lower leg.

N=1 and this could totally be a “Nanna says rub a dandelion on your warts to get rid them” type cure…but you could also give it a try. Don’t go overboard, max 3 times a day and no more than 20-30 steps each time.

Good luck.

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The call for more stretching seemed unusually antagonistic, but it actually did work. I was having some anxiety about trying to walk through the terminal and onto/off a plane, so having it heal so quickly was a godsend :pray:. It didn’t make any sense, but it worked, it was a surprisingly large part of the healing I think.