Forum: Irish / Irish - Technique & Training

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re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By feisamerica
On Wed Oct 22, 2008 03:16 PM
Please email me directly at kathleen@feisamerica.com as I would like to chat about using some of your pieces in an upcoming issue of Feis America magazine! Thanks!

Best regards,
Kathleen O'Reilly-Wild
Publisher
Feis America LLC
feisamerica.com
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By boleyngrrl
On Sat Oct 25, 2008 01:45 PM
I have seen them at my local excersize stores, but unfortunately have never checked the price. I would do a web search for them. Good luck!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By DancerGirl4Life
On Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:21 PM
This is ah-mazing. Thank you soooo much for this!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By mo925206
On Mon Dec 08, 2008 09:59 AM
I have heard from a previous Riverdancer that he would lay out a towel flat and then scrunch it up using his toes. Lay it out again and repeat. The problem is likely an imbalance. Irish dancers jump all day long therefore their calves are probably much stronger than their shins. The key is to strengthen your shins. Therabands are great for this. Another one is lay on your back legs in table top position. Move your feet as quickly from point to flex for 30secs. Then do inner circles, outer circles, side to side, oppose r/l up and down for 30 secs each! This will burn by the end!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By CompactDiscomember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Mar 17, 2009 09:36 AM
Karma from the Highland board!!! Great informative post... I bookmarked this one!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By irishdancer19
On Tue Mar 24, 2009 07:53 PM
Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!!
you just saved me a trip to the doctor...=]
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By XxEllieDancerxXmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Oct 24, 2009 01:41 PM
blue text this really helped I think i will try some of these stretches at home and see if it makes an improvement.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Mar 15, 2010 05:33 PM
thanks for the info it has really helped...the pain has nearly gone from my shins, although i am a menace for the resting..its not in my nature, but now the pain has moved into my knee! boo hoo it feels like its gna pop out towards the inside of the leg, or that it needs to crack and creak but nothing happens. any ideas?
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By becca1825
On Tue Oct 05, 2010 01:59 PM
Wow! Thank you so much!!! I have really bad shin splints right now and I have a feis this weekend!!!!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By celticprincessmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Oct 09, 2010 07:00 PM
I always get wicked bad shin splint when I start training for the Oireachtas. My docter told me to use Tiger Balm. It's a herbal pain reliever that you rub on your legs. It really works! Only problem? It smell bad. I drove my friends crazy last year cause I would use it in the break room LOL :)
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By AussieLauramember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Nov 20, 2010 08:31 PM
^So tiger balm does work? People at my school use something called Deep Heat...
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By dancemomtoo
On Sun Nov 21, 2010 08:46 AM
Go to bioskins website and buy the shin/calf compression sleeve-its magic-wear it while dancing. It keeps the muscles/tendons from pulling and vibrating which is what the pain is and prevents further damage. Our sports doc told us about this.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By irisdancer123
On Sun May 15, 2011 01:53 PM
Thank you so much for posting this, I recently got pains in my shins and searched the symptoms on bootswebmd.co.uk and the condition that suited was shin splints so I have an appointment with the doctor this week and I'm taking a break from dancing for a week :/ I also have flat feet which Boots said could be a contributing factor xxxxxx So glad I know that it is common for Irish Dancers x
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun May 15, 2011 02:10 PM
Deep heat just inflames the muscles more. Which causes more swelling and hurts more. Tiger balm worked in a sense for me, but I found wearing long socks or ankle warmers to help especially after class when the muscles cool down quick. Keep them warm and keep moving. Sitting down is the worst thing you can do.

I'm still battling with mine but they are getting better.

I saw a physio and he said there is a huge imbalance in the muscles in my calf and shins.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By irishfeislovemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun May 15, 2011 04:51 PM
My TC made us do this exercise for them where you cross your feet over like you are about to start dancing, then tap the front foot only repeadtly, so it builds up muscle on the outside shin.I think it was more for prevention than recovery, but still.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints (karma: 2)
By BryanATC
On Thu May 19, 2011 12:24 PM
Twinkle Toes, I have to commend you on a very thorough write up for the treatment and management of "shin splints" as it pertains to the Tibialis Posterior. Many sports medicine students would love to have that in their notes.

With that being said I need to (from a medical professional's perspective) be sure to emphasize some things. (Some have already been mentioned, but I will again).

"Shin Splints" is a very generic term. There are a lot of different structures that when injured people call "shin splints". Nearly all are caused the same way. There is some weakness/deficiency (either in the shin or elsewhere) that when overused with an activity of a high impact nature begins to break down and cause pain.

To help people who might not have "tibialis posterior" "shin splints" I'll lay out that the response to any "shin splint" usually has 3 prongs. The first is to find out where the weak/deficient structure is and help strengthen/correct it. "Shin splints" aren't always caused by where you end up with pain. The most common cause is "flat feet". Usually this means there is a muscle weakness through the arch of the foot that leaves it in a position where it can't cushion the impact to the ground sending the force and vibration up to the shin. This flatter position also tends to turn your shin in slightly sending that impact even more directly into your shin area. Proper supportive shoes and exercises can be great for flatter feet. There can also be muscle weaknesses in the shin itself (tibialis posterior is just one), in your quads, or even all the way up in your hips. "Turned out" walkers really need to work on correcting that habit, because it just sets you up to be a "shin splint" candidate. While steps 2 and 3 I will talk about next are important as well, if you don't find the weak link and correct it you'll just be doomed to repeat the cycle.

The second step is to take a look at your activity frequency or type. Chances are if you've always danced, or ran, or a combination of both, but have never had problems, then something finally put you over the edge. An extra dance class (or five) a week, adding more mileage to your cardio, adding a modern class (no shoes), etc. You won't always have to stop activity entirely if you catch "shin splints" early. It is good though to back off to a level you know never caused you pain if you can. While complete rest may be great if things are really bad please remember one HUGE tip. Do not go back to full activity all at once. You need to slowly work back in or else your shins won't be able to adjust and will most likely start hurting again. Make sure you take into account all of your activity where you are on your feet when "cutting back". People tend to forget the 3 hours at the mall, or gym class, or the 10 errands they ran that day. Most dancers feel that Doctors/PTs will just tell them to stop dancing. Usually this is because it is the best course of action (and usually the fastest) to actually "heal" the injury, not just make it bearable for activity again. Usually if you don't at least back off slightly, you'll be heading their advice of not dancing when they put you in a cast for a stress fracture.

Third is to make sure you always ice. The icing protocol above is fantastic, just remember that you should always ice after coming back from "shin splints", even if you are only slightly sore. Stay ahead of the game and it becomes a lot easier. One thing to note is anywhere that it was described as "numb" should be a coldness type of numb not a "fallen asleep" feeling. Any "numbness" that radiates down into your foot/toes should indicate you stop the icing. Sometimes the irritation and swelling from "shin splints" can be so bad that it can press on nerves and blood vessels. This is usually a VERY bad thing so take note.

Taping/Wrapping

Ok, I'm going to get on my own personal soap box for a minute. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION AND OTHERS MAY DISAGREE OR HAVE FOUND DIFFERENT OUTCOMES.

Please realize that most tapes/wraps applied to the shin/lower calf area are designed to compress and relieve the affected areas so they can heal. Yes this usually means the soreness also goes away, but that doesn't always mean you should be fine to go ahead and dance. Those compressed muscles aren't going to be able to work properly, and while pounding on them won't be able to heal regardless.

This is the recommendation I give anyone I ever personally see with "shin splints". If you have to tape in order to be able to participate in your activity then that means you are at the point where you really should be taking a break from that activity. Taping should be done only in circumstances where you absolutely have to dance (like a one day competition or show), but not on a daily basis unless it is part of your therapists directions.

Note that arch taping is different. My opinions on the above taping are when your shins hurt and you are specifically taping/wrapping them.

Bottom line is that while the term "shin splints" can be tossed around for different causes making sure to treat (ice,rest,etc), modify activity if possible, and proper footwear are pretty universal. Some exercises are good for some causes, some aren't. You should always try to find out (i.e. go to a doctor or PT) what your "weak link" is. You'll end up a lot happier and in a lot less pain.


Bryan

(Background on me: I am a Certified Athletic Trainer who has a long history with music and the arts. I deal in Sports Medicine and the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. While never a dancer myself, I've know way too many who have wandered in the "wilderness" when it comes to injuries. Unlike the traditional sport athletes I work with, dancers don't always know who to go to for problems until it becomes so bad that they have to. I feel dancers are every bit the athlete and deserve that resource which is why I joined this site and hope to give valuable guidance. !!!NOTE!!! While I do hope to provide guidance, my recommendations should never take the place of a seeing a physician for a true diagnosis of any injury.)
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By CanuckfeismomPremium member
On Thu Jun 09, 2011 03:13 PM
Going to massage therapist fairly regularly provides relief for my daughter in addition to the icing/stretches that this article mentions.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By gwenfrewi_dancePremium member
On Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:46 PM
So those suggestions are super helpful! Back in May I was dealing with shin splints pretty bad and I nursed them back to health and was able to compete this summer! Well I just switched to a new school and am preparing for a feis in Nov and am working really hard to work on the new steps as well as break in a new pair of heavies and they pain is back with a fury! I have tried taping my arches, tiger balm, stretching, icing, leg warmers. I still feel weak going up for leaps and such. Anyone have any advice that doesn't include taking a break?
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By Newway
On Mon Sep 19, 2011 08:22 AM
Look out for your shins swelling to twice the size they should be, my rule now is if you can not see your ankle bones that you can normal see go see a Sports Med Doctor ASPA
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By ep_dance
On Wed Oct 05, 2011 04:49 AM
I´ve been suffering from really bad shine splints for 2 years now, it gets worse, really worse, extremly worse and then better again. I tried like everything that crossed my mind. Something that really helped me are Kinesio-tapes. I was like "yea, why not try, those plasters wont hurt me" So I had a physiotherapist put them on, and I can tell you, I danced that day pain free for the first time in 2 years. Now I alsway put them on if I feel I need them and yes, there is still pain left, but I dont want to know how it would feel without them :) REALLY worth a try my friends
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By LovesToDance101
On Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:04 AM
Thankyou so much for this thread, it helped me get rid of my shin splints FINALLY! Didn't the doctor on jig mention something about Julia's Posteria Tib?
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By Jeannie8
On Wed Aug 01, 2012 05:06 AM
Thanks for the insight. My daughter suffers from shin splints terribly and we are using all the methods you have posted. She also has tried acupuncture and that was quite helpful as well. We have also had deep tissue massages to relax her calves.
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By boastabouttoast
On Sun Aug 05, 2012 03:51 AM
thank you so much!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By irishprincess24member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Sep 03, 2012 01:37 PM
thank you thank you thank you!!! I just started hardshoe and I've been getting killer shin splints :( I tried the stretches and they help soo much... This is great!!
re: A Guide to Dealing With Shin Splints
By DANCEDC
On Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:25 AM
In addition to the great comments above, a very quick pre-dance warm-up that can help keep you from getting shin splints (better to prevent in the first place!): Stand in a forward bend (touch your toes with straight legs). Now cross one foot over the other, ankles close together. Lift your toes towards your nose alternating feet about 20 times. Now re-cross your feet with the other foot in front. Repeat for another 20. Do this EVERY time before you dance. I aways do this before I run, too. I also massage my daughter's legs (always work from the ankles towards to body) when she's been training especially hard, paying attention to the fronts of the legs on the sides of the shins. Use oil.
*I'm a chiropractor with a daughter who has been dancing for 7 years
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