Low-quality shoes not the sole cause of shin splints

An achy, sharp pain in the inside of the edge of the tibia and swollen ankles are what describe a track runner’s worst fear: shin splints. According to athletic trainer John Reynolds, shin splints are medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome and are caused by two different foot conditions: the flat foot or the high arched foot.

If the muscle gets injured by either of these conditions, the area becomes irritated and causes the arch of the foot to collapse. Inflammation in the affected area continues to build up, resulting in the pain runners face after practice. Yearly, the track team has had to deal with its usual number of runners with shin splints, sending many of them to Reynold’s office to ice the affected area.

“The first thing I usually check for is whether they have the proper shoes,” Reynolds said. This usually tells whether the arches of the kind of feet runners have are being “properly supported.”

This year, the team has taken measures to prevent this occurrence as much as they can.

According to senior Ashton Garriot, spring track and field coach Clifford Wong “tests [players’] shoes whether they are old or are in good shape.”

“They shouldn’t bend or be flexible; they should be firm,” Garriot said.

The team also “emphasizes on calf stretching before and after practice,” junior Natasha Yaqub said.

Before the season even began, the team encouraged its runners, especially sprinters, to invest in quality track shoes such as “Spike Nights at Fit3 and Roadrunners [to make] sure everyone has good shoes to practice in,” junior Nick Robinson said.

However, while shins splints occur more as a manageable condition for most runners, it can progress to a severe state.

“It is important to distinguish whether the shin splint is actually a stress facture or not,” Reynolds said. This is usually suspected when the condition has “prolonged for several weeks.”

Freshman Lena Peblikin even went to a podiatrist and a chiropractor for her condition, which is still unclear at this time.

“The doctors had implied that I had some degree of shin splints,” Peblikin said. She was also told that she had “bad form” when running and is currently using orthotics and purchasing more suitable shoes.

Runners who have had on-and-off occurrences of shin splints run less with the team and are on their own regimen on the grass or track.