Foods that fight inflammation: tart cherries
Not only are these good for inflammation but in animal studies they helped prevent heart disease and diabetes lowering total cholesterol and blood sugar.
Tart red cherries are packed with antioxidants including a particular type called anthocanins 1 and 2 which have pain relieving properties comparable to some pain medications. So I’m adding these in before and after my morning work out.
They come fresh, dry, powdered and in juice form. I tend to go for dry because eating 20 fresh cherries is quite a task but tossing back a handful of dry cherries is quite manageable.
My favorite way to eat them:
Sprinkled over Greek yogurt with sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey.
Or you if your looking for something to take on the go you can use dry, juiced, powdered or fresh cherries to make a smoothie using Greek yogurt, honey, cherries and chia seeds. (you may have to add some milk to thin it out). Enjoy :)
Shin Splint Stretch # 1
This stretch involves the use of a theraband (I’ve also used the leg of a pair of sweats or tights when I am in a pinch).
- Put the theraband over the top of your toes and about an inch of your foot.
- Hold the ends of the theraband to the outside of your ankle letting it wrap behind your heel.
- Pull the band and extend your leg out in front of you using the theraband to pull your foot into a pointed position.
You should end up feeling a great stretch on the top of your ankle and your lower shin
Shin Splints: What are they?
Ok so there is no single condition that is a shin splint but rather the term shin splint is a catch all for pain in the shin (Its also known as tibial stress syndrome if your looking for a big name to pull out at a party one day). They can be caused by many things
Overuse injuries causing the muscles to become inflamed.
Poor circulation preventing fluid from draining after exercise.
Stress Fractures in the shin
The muscle detaching from the shin bone (don’t worry its on a microscopic level)
Over pronation or muscular imbalance (forcing your muscles to work harder to keep you aligned)
Essentially everything listed above occurs from you putting to much strain on a body not ready for what your demanding. With all of that said because shin splints may be the symptom of many different problems not every treatment will work for every person so if they are a common thing for you I encourage you to experiment and stick with what works.
What is often overlooked when treating shin splints is that many times overly tight muscles (especially in the calf area and inner thigh) can cause alignment issues that will be aggrivated by repeated use and that will make it difficult for your body to absorb shock. So if they are a constant problem for you START STRETCHING I’ll be posting stretches and massage techniques that work for me.
My Shin Splint Treatment Plan:
Tape before exercise (or even better use a neoprene sleeve its important to keep your legs warm)
One more stretch before bed
It looks like a long list but it goes by pretty fast.
Post of the Day! Icing Shin Splints
Ok so in the coming week I will explain what a shin is, some of the causes, and some of the treatments that have been recommended to me. But on a specific request I’d like to describe how exactly I ice my shin splints without submerging my entire body into the arctic depths.
It’s never ideal to have to perform any athletically when injured but unfortunately with shin splints some of us at times have to push through the pain for a little while. But please listen to your body its the only one your ever going to get. When you look back at your life will 40 years from now will you remember that one performance or that one triathlon or will you remember that injury that still hurts.
1) Get six inched of water in the tub
2) Dump in the ice (be sure to use enough or it kind of defeats the purpose)
3) Kneel in the tub and sit back on your heals
4) Perch your laptop on your toilet seat and get some homework done, or watch funny gifs until you cry…your choice :)
I choose to do this rather than just putting on a cold compress because many times when I have shinsplints I have trauma to the other muscles in my lower legs and in my feet. Icing this way brings down all of that inflammation and keeps other injuries from flaring up your shin splints. The most uncomfortable part of this will be your feet but if you can keep yourself distracted for a few minutes the sting will fade.
I still don’t know where I lie on the ice vs. heat debate but I generally use this pattern: before exercise use a little bit of heat to improve circulation to the injured area. Immediately afterward ice to bring down swelling and before bed a little more heat to hopefully promote night time healing with that added circulation.
In the coming days I will be posting videos on stretching and massage for shin injuries.
Let me know if you would like a post on anything else :)
Hey! Bit of a random question, but I was wondering if you had any pointers on proper splits technique? I recently realized that I've been doing the splits for thirteen years without any kind of instruction on how to do them well. Thanks!
Well that’s a questions I haven’t gotten before…I guess like yourself I’ve been taking the ability to do splits for granted for a long time!
I do have some pointers though and will post a video later today for you to check out.
With splits the main thing is that you are good to your joints…if it hurts DON’T do it! With that said I do have some tips on how to go about doing that.
Side Splits (one leg in front, one behind, with your hips facing the front foot) — Many people like to slide down from standing into splits if you can help it don’t. It just puts undue strain on your ankle and knee joints (it might seem like it won’t but try doing it 500 times and it will add up. I know I ended up in a boot from a modern dance piece full of splits so please be careful). I start on the floor with one leg straight in front and bend the other as far back behind me as it will go, I then straighten the back leg until I am in a split (see video for more info).
Center Split (legs out to the side) — with this one you should be a little more careful it is easy to strain all of the small muscles and tendons in your hip joints, and this position can also put quite a torque on your knees if done improperly. Start sitting up with a straight back and your legs in front. Now slide your legs out along the floor into a split. Here is the key point YOUR KNEES AND TOES SHOULD ALWAYS BE POINTING UP. I know many people say there is no right or wrong way, and in fact many gymnasts do splits with there knees rolling toward the ground, however I have been told time and again in the dance world that keeping your knees pointing up is the best safeguard. If you have more questions that the video doesn’t answer please feel free to send me a question.
I had a back injury that prevented me from doing much moving at all and most definitely no bending at the spine (and for me not moving is like dying), but this pose always seemed to give me relaxation, some relief from pain, and some space to think.
I don’t know if it has a yoga equivalent but when my dance teacher knew I was having a hard time she taught me this position and it really helped me cope. It is now my go to when i need space to think and a break from stress and/or back pain. Maybe you can make this pose your haven too.
So to do this correctly lay down on your back palms up and take some relaxing breaths. Begin to systematically relax your body starting at the tips of your toes. Tell yourself relax my feet, relax my legs, hips, back, shoulders, neck etc. focusing on giving the floor your weight and being heavy. When you feel that you have relaxed bend your legs at the knee making a right angle (with your feet just outside of your hips) and let them fall into each other relaxing your hips and inner thighs.
Put your arms up pointing towards the ceiling then cross them with elbows one on top of the other (your hands should be at your shoulders) pointing up then let your shoulders relax and allow your arms to cover your eyes or forehead focusing on opening up your back between your shoulder blades.
Continue breathing and giving your weight to the floor with every exhale. You are now in your own space that you have created, you have no where to go except deeper into the floor and nothing to do except breath. Enjoy.