So the other day I’m 5 miles in to a 15 mile run when my left foot smacks into the curb, bending my pinky toe backwards until it popped, cracked, and otherwise cause a great deal of shooting pain.
Wait, let me back up. I run barefoot or in minimalist footwear. On this particular day I was wearing my Vibram Bikila LS.
I was running a new route, taking in the sights, picking up quarters, and not really paying attention to what was going on. Anyway, I crossed a street in a residential area and that’s when I hit the curb and my toe went crack. It didn’t hurt all that bad so I went the distance.
At home, I slid off my VFF to assess the damage.
I remember my first track practice in high school. It was still winter, so my team ran laps on the hard cement around the school’s upper floor. The next morning, it felt like someone tore my shins out and replaced them with burning knives. I will never forget that feeling, and never run on cement again.
Shin splints can be any one of many injuries affecting the lower parts of your leg or foot. The pain can be anywhere from annoying to excruciating, causing some beginning runners to hang up their shoes for good. So how do we deal with, or better yet, avoid shin splints?
Runners are no strangers to injury. Every now and then, we feel a twist or a ding. If you feel intense pain, or see part of a bone sticking through your leg, you probably want to seek immediate medical attention. If your injury is not that severe, you can try this simple plan to treat minor injuries.
It goes by the acronym RICE, which stands for “Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate”. Try this for 24-48 hours after an injury to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and alleviate further injury.
Ever take a pain reliever before running so you could dull the ache in your back or the pain in your leg? If you have, you probably took a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) as they are the most commonly used OTC medication; not just because they relieve pain, but because they decrease inflammation.
The bad news, when you take an NSAID like aspirin, Motrin (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen) while running you can stress your kidneys and impair their ability to function. And, if your kidneys can’t function there’s a good chance dehydration or hyponatremia will result. Couple that with warm temperatures and you could really be in for a world of hurt.
So what should you do when you experience pain while running?
Dear fellow runners:
My heel? Yeah, it hurts when I run. Hell, it hurts when I walk. I started running on a regular basis roughly a year ago and it’s been a relatively injury-free journey. Until now, that is.
The injury bug finally caught up to me about a month ago and, well, I’m pretty ticked off about it (to put it politely). Logic says that I should stop running and give my heel some rest, but I reeeeeally want to get outside and pound some pavement. In my mind, every day that I don’t run is another day of gains thrown right out the window. You know what I mean? Of course you do.