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What are shin splints?

Article Featured on HealthLine

The term “shin splints” describes pain felt along the front of your lower leg/shin bone. Shin splint pain concentrates in the lower leg between the knee and ankle. Your doctor may refer to the condition as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

Shin splints frequently affect people who engage in moderate to heavy physical activity. You may be more likely to develop shin splints if you participate in strenuous physical activities or stop-start sports such as tennis, racquetball, soccer, or basketball. Sometimes the pain of shin splints can be so intense that you must stop the activity.

Shin splints is a cumulative stress disorder. Repeated pounding and stress on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs prevents your body from being able to naturally repair and restore itself.

What causes shin splints?

The pain associated with shin splints results from excessive amounts of force on the shin bone and the tissues attaching the shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. The excessive force causes the muscles to swell and increases the pressure against the bone, leading to pain and inflammation.

Shin splints can also result from stress reactions to bone fractures. The constant pounding can cause minute cracks in the bones of the leg. The body can repair the cracks if given time to rest. However, if the body doesn’t get time to rest, the tiny cracks can result in a complete fracture or a stress fracture.

Who is at risk for shin splints?

Various activities and physical attributes can put you at risk of getting shin splints. Risk factors include:

  • an anatomical abnormality (such as flat foot syndrome)
  • muscle weakness in the thighs or buttocks
  • lack of flexibility
  • improper training techniques
  • running downhill
  • running on a slanted surface or uneven terrain
  • running on hard surfaces like concrete
  • using inappropriate or worn-out shoes for running or working out
  • participating in sports that have fast stops and starts (like soccer or downhill skiing)

Shin splints are also more likely to occur when your leg muscles and tendons are tired. Women, people with flat feet or rigid arches, athletes, military recruits, and dancers all have an increased likelihood of developing shin splints.

Symptoms of shin splints

People with shin splints will experience some of the following symptoms:

  • a dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
  • pain that develops during exercise
  • pain on either side of the shin bone
  • muscle pain
  • pain along the inner part of the lower leg
  • tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
  • swelling in the lower leg (usually mild, if present)
  • numbness and weakness in the feet

See your doctor if your shin splints don’t respond to common treatment methods or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • severe pain in your shin after a fall or accident
  • a shin that feels hot
  • a shin that’s visibly swollen
  • pain in your shins even when you’re resting

How are shin splints diagnosed?

Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose shin splints during a physical exam. They’ll ask you about the types of physical activities you participate in and how often you pursue them. Doctors may prescribe diagnostic tests such as imaging scans and X-rays if they suspect that you might be suffering from bone fractures or a condition other than shin splints.

Treating shin splints

Home remedies

Shin splints normally require that you take a break from certain physical activities and give your legs time to rest. The discomfort will usually resolve completely in a few hours or at most in a few days with rest and limited activity. The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking. Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • keep your legs elevated
  • use ice packs to reduce swelling
  • take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen
  • wear elastic compression bandages
  • use a foam roller to massage your shins

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely used to treat shin splints. However, if your shins splints are causing severe pain and symptoms last for more than several months, your doctor may recommend surgery. This surgery is known as a fasciotomy. In this procedure, your doctor will make small cuts in the fascia tissue surrounding your calf muscles. This can potentially relieve some of the pain caused by shin splints.

Can shin splints be avoided?

Steps you can take to avoid getting shin splints include:

  • wearing shoes that fit well and offer good support
  • using shock-absorbing insoles
  • avoiding exercising on hard or slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
  • increasing exercise intensity gradually
  • warming up before exercising
  • making sure to stretch properly
  • engaging in strength training, specifically toe exercises that build calf muscles
  • not attempting to exercise through the pain

Any intensive exercise program requires strengthening of all surrounding muscle groups. Workouts should be varied to avoid overuse and trauma to any particular muscle group. You should refrain from any intense exercise program if severe muscle pain or other physical symptoms develop.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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5 Common Running Injuries and How to Heal Them

Article by Anna Medaris Miller | Found on US News

Runner’s lingo

If you come across a group of runners on the street, in a coffee shop or on an online forum, chances are they’re discussing one of three things: hydration issues, running schedules or injuries, says Joe English, a multi-sport athlete and coach in Portland, Oregon. And, if the topic is injuries, chances are there’s little consensus on, say, how long the sufferer should rest, whether to soothe it with ice or a foam roller and which practitioner to see. “Running injuries are super common, but there’s a lot of different information out there about how you deal with them,” English says. Here, he and other experts set the record straight.

The best offense is a good defense.

Whether it’s a slight shin irritation or a full-blown stress fracture, most running-related injuries can be traced back to a few causes: poor planning, a poor warmup, poor form or pushing too hard, says Nathan DeMetz, an online personal trainer based in Goshen, Indiana. “People are driving their feet down rapidly into the ground, and that damage can start to add up really quickly,” he says. Working with professionals, be they running coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists or sports medicine doctors, can help keep injuries at bay. But if it’s already too late, read on to learn how to identify and cope with five common running-related injuries:

1. Runner’s knee

About 50 percent of running injuries are knee-related, estimates Robert Gillanders, a physical therapist in Bethesda, Maryland, and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association. It’s easy to see why: The sport requires your knees to repetitively endure shock from the ground below and from body weight above the joint. If your gait’s a bit off, your training too accelerated or your shoes imperfectly fitted, that strain will add up – often to pain around the kneecap, aka runner’s knee. While rest is key, treatment may also include new shoes, dialed back mileage or quad-strengthening exercises. A sports medicine doc or physical therapist can help make the call.

2. IT band syndrome

Not all running-related knee pain is considered runner’s knee. If the outer, not front, of the joint is making you wince, it’s likely your IT band, a stretch of connective tissue that runs from your hip to your knee. “It’s almost like gristle that provides support for the outside of the knee,” Gillanders says. Running with IT band syndrome, which occurs more in women because wider hips ask more of the tissue, will only bring on pain earlier in runs. “There’s almost no way to get rid of it without resting it and getting ice on it and getting treatment,” English says. Foam rolling and expert-guided strength and balance work often help.

3. Achilles pain

Fifty percent of runners injure their Achilles tendons – the thick band of tissue joining the calf muscles with the heel – at some point during their careers, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. That’s partly because the band endures a lot of strain and doesn’t have a rich blood supply, which can prolong the healing cycle, Gillanders says. Men are particularly prone to Achilles injuries because they tend to have tighter calves than women. Like many running-related injuries, a good prevention and treatment technique for Achilles pain is flexibility work. “For every hour of running, you should really be doing an hour of a stretching-focused activity” like yoga, English says.

4. Plantar fasciitis

Sometimes, that same calf tightness can lead to shin splints or heel pain known as plantar fasciitis, which is most likely in runners who are heavier, have ramped up their routines too quickly and have flatter feet, among other risk factors, APTA reports. To treat heel pain, again, rest and professional help is key. Physical therapists may, for example, guide you in stretching exercises, prescribe icing and help you identify shoes or braces that can support your foot as it heals. Once you get back on your feet, you might try switching up your running surface to something softer, like a dirt path, grass or a track, English says.

5. Stress fractures

If you have a stress fracture and try to hop on the leg that hurts, your body won’t let you – it knows it will be too darn painful. “That’s when we take you out of a race,” English says. You can also identify the injury – essentially little cracks in the bone that can shatter – if one dime-sized spot, usually on the shin or under your foot, hurts to the touch. While one of the most serious running injuries, a stress fracture isn’t the only one that should send you to a sports medicine clinic. If you visit one, English says, “you’ll be back in business much faster than doing anything on your own.”

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area. New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more. If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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Are Your Muscles Genetically Prepared to Run a Marathon?

Article Found on Science Daily

More than 2,500 years have passed since Pheidippides, the hero from ancient Greece, inspired a modern sporting event: the marathon. In their desire to imitate him, thousands of runners participate in this competition every week, taking advantage of the fact that most cities in the world encourage the practice of running.

However, competing in a marathon involves an enormous physiological commitment from various systems: the respiratory, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. This is explained by Juan Del Coso, from the Exercise Physiology Laboratory of the Camilo José Cela University. Read more

10 Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment

Article Found on WebMD

Running injuries usually happen when you push yourself too hard. The way your body moves also plays a role.

You can prevent many of them. Here’s how.

1. Runner’s knee. This is a common overuse injury. Runner’s knee has several different causes. It often happens when your kneecap is out of alignment.

Over time, the cartilage on your kneecap can wear down. When that happens, you may feel pain around the kneecap, particularly when:

  • Going up or down stairs
  • Squatting
  • Sitting with the knee bent for a long time

2. Stress fracture. This is a small crack in a bone that causes pain and discomfort. It typically affects runners in the shin and feet. It’s often due to working too hard before your body gets used to a new activity.

Pain gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Rest is important, as continued stress on the bone can lead to more serious injury.

3. Shin splint. This is pain that happens in the front or inside of the lower leg along the shin bone (tibia). Shin splints are common after changing your workout, such as running longer distances or increasing the number of days you run, too quickly.

People with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.

Treatment includes:

4. Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon. That’s the large tendon that attaches the calf to the back of the heel.

Achilles tendinitis causes pain and stiffness in the area of the tendon, especially in the morning and with activity. It is usually caused by repetitive stress to the tendon. Adding too much distance to your running routine can cause it. Tight calf muscles can also contribute.

Treatment includes:

  • Rest
  • Icing the area
  • Calf stretches

5. Muscle pull. This is a small tear in your muscle, also called a muscle strain. It’s often caused by overstretching a muscle. If you pull a muscle, you may feel a popping sensation when the muscle tears.

Treatment includes RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

Muscle pull commonly affects these muscles:

  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Calf
  • Groin

6. Ankle sprain. This is the accidental stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle. It often happens when the foot twists or rolls inward.

Sprains typically get better with rest, ice, compression, and elevating the foot.

7. Plantar fasciitis. An inflammation of the plantar fascia. That’s the thick band of tissue in the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes.

People with tight calf muscles and a high arch are more prone to plantar fasciitis. Although it may be linked to adding activity, plantar fasciitis can also happen without any obvious reason.

Treatment includes:

  • Calf stretches
  • Rest
  • Icing the bottom of the foot

8. IT (iliotibial) band syndrome. This syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee. The IT band is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee.

IT band syndrome happens when this ligament thickens and rubs the knee bone, causing inflammation.

  • Cutting back on exercise
  • Heat and stretching before exercise
  • Icing the area after activity

9. Blisters. These are fluid-filled sacks on the surface of the skin. They are caused by friction between your shoes/socks and skin.

To help prevent blisters:

  • Start using new shoes gradually
  • Wear socks with a double layer
  • Apply petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters

10. Temperature-related injuries. These include:

You can prevent these by dressing appropriately, staying hydrated, and using sunscreen.

Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

By taking a few precautions and planning, you can prevent many common running injuries. Here are some tips for preventing injuries.

Listen to your body: Don’t ignore pain. A little soreness is OK. But if you notice consistent pain in a muscle or joint that doesn’t get better with rest, see your health care provider.

Create a running plan: Before beginning a running routine, talk to a trainer. A trainer can help you create a running plan that is in line with your current fitness abilities and long-term goals.

Warm-up and stretch: Many injuries occur as a result of inadequate stretching. Before and after you run, stretch your muscles thoroughly — especially your calf, hamstrings, groin, and quadriceps.Also, warm up for five minutes — by walking, for example — before you start stretching. Stretching cold muscles may cause injuries.

Strength train: Add weight training and ab exercises to your routine. This strengthens muscles and develops core strength.

Cross train: Mix up your fitness routine. Don’t only run. Try swimming, biking, tennis, or some other activity. This helps prevent overuse injuries that more commonly occur when you do the same type of exercise over and over again.

Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin. Dress in layers. Also wear a hat to protect against the sun and cold.

Be shoe smart: Wear proper-fitting socks and shoes with good support. If the soles of your running shoes have worn thin or are angled, it’s time to get a new pair. If you have foot problems, such as flat feet or high arches, consider using orthotic shoe inserts.Run wisely: Run on a flat, smooth surface and avoid steep hills until your body gets used to the activity.

Be safe: Run during the day, in well-lit areas, or use a light so that you can be seen. Keep a cell phone and identification on you. If running with headphones, set the volume low enough so that you can hear cars and other noises. Run with a partner when you can.

Weather matters: Monitor the weather conditions before you go for a run. Don’t run outside if it is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, below freezing, or the humidity is high.

Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of water on the days you run. If you are running for more than an hour, drink a sports drink to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.

Treatment of Common Running Injuries

Most running injuries can be relieved by following these treatment strategies. If pain and discomfort continues, see your health careprovider. You may need more advanced treatment to resolve your running injury.

Rest: Take it easy. If you keep running, your injury may get worse. Choose alternative ways to exercise while you heal, such as swimming or cycling.Ice and cold therapy: Apply ice packs to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Compression: Wrap the affected area with tape and use splints and supports to control swelling and stabilize the affected area.

Elevate: If you sprain your ankle or hurt your foot, elevate it to reduce swelling.

Stretch: To reduce pain and tension of the affected area, gently stretch and massage the injured area.

Pain relievers: Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), as recommended by your health care provider to relieve pain and inflammation.

Don’t try to push through pain. If you notice discomfort, take a break from running. If the pain continues, seek care from your health care provider.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Is Running Bad for Your Knees?

Article by Randy Dotinga | Featured on WebMD

THURSDAY, Jan. 5, 2017 (HealthDay News) —  “It flies in the face of intuition,” said study co-author Matt Seeley, an associate professor of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.”

Seeley and his colleagues reached their surprising conclusion after analyzing the knee joint fluid of several healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The researchers looked for signs of inflammation in chemical markers before and after a 30-minute run and found little difference.

“What we now know is that for young, healthy individuals, exercise creates an anti-inflammatory environment that may be beneficial in terms of long-term joint health,” lead author Robert Hyldahl said in a university news release. Hyldahl is an assistant professor of exercise science at BYU.

The researchers said the study suggests running could actually delay development of degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis.

“This study does not indicate that distance runners are any more likely to get osteoarthritis than any other person,” Seeley said. “Instead, this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine.”

The study was published recently in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions ó such as sports injuries and fractures ó to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

The Big 7 Body Breakdowns

The Big 7 Body Breakdowns

Christie Aschwanden | Featured on Runners World

In an ideal runner’s world, every step of every mile would be 100 percent pain-free. No aches, no twinges, no lingering soreness from yesterday’s workout. The reality is that many runners constantly deal with a slight (or not so slight) disturbance—a tender foot, a tight hamstring, a whiny knee. While these nagging issues often aren’t serious enough to require a time-out, they are annoying, especially when they don’t let you fully enjoy your time on the roads.

Read more