I haven’t been running for weeks. I haven’t done any consistent training for about a year. The strange shin pain I’ve been struggling with for over a year zapped all of my excitement and enthusiasm for running, and I’ve contemplated giving up running completely. I still love the outdoors and being active, so I figured I’d just switch to bicycling, swimming, kayaking and hiking. But even getting out of the door is difficult when you feel like your body is broken.
I think I’ve been to 4-5 physical therapists, sports physicians and naprapaths to figure out what’s wrong, and I honestly feel like not one of them even tried to figure out what the problem was. A couple of them gave me acupuncture, a pseudoscience with no actual proof of its efficacy. Most of them just did the regular poking and prodding of my legs, asked me a handful of questions, gave me a couple of exercises to do and immediately booked my next appointment. “Do these exercises and come back next week and we’ll see how it feels then”. “Uhm, OK, but what’s wrong with me? What’s your diagnosis? Why am I doing these exercises if you don’t know what injury I’m doing them for?”
I never asked anyone that question. Like any other patient I assumed the person I was paying to treat me was actually trying to treat me.
The Witch Doctor
One naprapath came to the conclusion that my tattoos (that I got before I even started running) had messed up my nervous system, which screwed up my running form, which in turn caused the shin pain. He tried treating me by scratching different parts of my tattoos to “reprogram” my nervous system, and “locking in” the changes in the programming by knocking on my achilles tendon.
Don’t even ask me why I, a devout skeptic, would come back three times to get treated by this witch doctor, it was sheer desperation.
The Busy Bee
What I had hoped to be the solution, going to an actual sports physician, turned out to be the shortest time I’ve ever spent in a doctor’s office. I’m pretty sure coming in just to borrow a pen would have taken longer. I explained that I had shin pain, and before I could say much more the doctor said “Shin splints. I’ll have you do an MRI.” And then he sent me on my way.
The MRI ended up being clean. The two appointments I had with the sports physician plus the 30-40 minute MRI lasted a total of 50 minutes. A single appointment normally takes 45 minutes to an hour. I guess he had better things to do with his time.
A New Hope
My friend recommended another naprapath. It took me a while to make an appointment because of my skepticism toward, well, everyone. However, a small flame is now heating up my hope for a future of running for me. Carl Spindler at Lidingönaprapaterna has shown a genuine interest in solving this problem. He actually shook his head and even laughed at the pitiful attempts made by the other people I’ve seen. And he has come up with some very plausible causes of my shin pain.
I did a running analysis which showed a lot of weaknesses. But with a quick Pose Method adjustment I improved my form significantly. After standing on a BOSU ball on one leg I also realised how piss poor my balance is. So there are A LOT of things I need to work on. But I finally feel like I am on the right track. I might actually be able to return to running and racing!
Carl emailed me some exercises and the pictures and video of my running analysis. The header of the email was “Running Markus 2.0”. Hell yeah, let’s upgrade this thing and never look back!
I’m keeping my screaming of joy until I’m actually able to run consistently without pain. But I have hope. I have hope!