Guest Blog from Nic Errol - Recovering from shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome)
MARCH 21, 2018
We had the pleasure of treating Nic Errol at Mint Wellbeing Harley Street in November 2017. Nic is an elite runner competing in city based marathons with times of 2hrs 48mins as well as running 100 mile ultra marathons in some of the most demanding places on earth!
He unfortunately picked up shin splints (officially known as medial tibial stress syndrome) after a 100km race in the USA. After the MRI confirmed no stress fracture he proceeded to Physio at Mint Wellbeing.
This exert from his own blog highlights the importance of rest, specific exercises and a gradual return to running to achieve a swift recovery... oh, and plenty of doughnuts too!
"I haven’t written anything since my Western States blog back in July. Quite a lot has happened, but for probably a few reasons, I didn’t make the time to write. So let’s dive back in to where we left off.
My post Western States bone stress injury healed exceptionally quickly. I was diagnosed with a grade 3 stress on my left medial tibia (shin). I took the three weeks post Western to rest, eat, socialise, reflect etc etc.
Shortly after getting the MRI results back from my brilliant Orthopaedic consultant (Dr Ian Sinha), I was told that based on the results and his own consultation with me, I was able to start running again. So week four post Western I ran circa 20 kms. My amazing coach Alicia was strict in how I did my first week of mileage, with the first couple of runs being a very restricted (and highly challenging mentally) walk two minutes, run one minute, with five minutes walking either side, totalling about 3km to begin with.
I had zero pain, and the prior 10 days my leg had felt as strong as it did before States, so despite my frustrations, I trusted my coaches directions. There are people who’ve had less serious stress injuries than I, who’ve still not been right six months later, so I was thankful to be moving. I had zero issues (or pain) coming back, and that first week I was feeling great.
From there, my mileage slowly increased and I was thankful that I didn’t have a single issue with my shin. Remarkable, and as a few people had said, I seemed to be an anomaly who recovers incredibly quickly.
As part of my rehab, I was seeing Amy Gasson at Mint Wellbeing, as recommended by Dr Sinha, to just monitor my progress. Whilst it was agreed my injury was not related to poor biomechanics, running gait, diet etc, I was given some exercises to strengthen my left arch as well as soleus muscle, just to close off any possibilities of future issues.
Amy was brilliant, and I was so grateful that I had both Dr Sinha and Amy managing my recovery, as they both understood my needs as an athlete, and were of the highest qualification and professional standard. Alongside my regular Osteopath, I had a world class team supporting me.
Why did I recover so quickly from quite a serious injury, and how did I manage to return to training so easily?
I can only speculate that what I did post States played a big factor. I immediately pulled out of CCC, a race that was eight weeks away and would have been a monster of an effort. Without even knowing what my injury was (or how severe), that removed any pressure to train and push a return faster than my body needed. I ate everything in site (particularly pizza, pasta, burgers & Thai food), drank lots of wine and beer, and spent three great weeks socialising with friends. I shared my story and just enjoyed quality time with those humans that have and continue to support me, and who’s friendship I value dearly.
I also ate a lot of Crosstown doughnuts! I slept a lot, rested as much as I could during the day, and other than swimming twice (for movement as opposed to training), and a single yoga class, I did nothing. My body was not stressed or under any form of training stresses, and I was just basking in the glory of my Western States finish, in the fourth toughest year in history.
I listened to my coach, my surgeon, and my physio, and trusted in the process.
When I was able to start running again, I resisted the urge to go crazy, following the excruciating slow and babied first few runs, and didn’t run harder or further than I was told. Whilst I was fine in this instance, had I pushed too hard, I may have been another statistic who regressed and would spent months trying to unsuccessfully recover. I’m also aware that I may just be lucky with genetics, and other things that may not be quantifiable at this point. Regardless, I learnt a lot from my injury, and became a far better runner and person."