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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Will cortisone injections fix my shin splints?

Jennifer from the USA wrote asking about cortisone injections for treating shin splints. In reply to my questions she wrote:

"I am 24, 5'10", 180. I have played sports all of my life; softball and basketball.

About three years ago, I walked this really rocky trail (3.5 miles) and I developed shin splints. Well, like an idiot I didn't immediately stop exercising, and stress fractures developed. I took about a year off from all exercising, and then I got back into the gym. This one day I got on an elliptical for 30 minutes and then a bike for 30 minutes, and that familiar pain came back. I kept riding a bike, and my shin splints were not getting any better so I took about another year off. I got back into the gym last week and rode a bike for 20 minutes, and I could feel that dull ache.

I have read hundreds of Internet articles about shin splints. I have tried treating them with ice, heat, massages, stretches, ibuprofen, Aleve, tape, and nothing has worked. I went to a family doctor and he told me to take ibuprofen which I had been doing all along.

I have been calling sport medicine doctor offices, and none of them will treat them. They are all into knee injuries. I live in Indiana, if you know someone please recommend him or her to me.

No one has actually recommended the cortisone. I just figured that it was my last option (besides surgery).

Please help. I love sports and I love working out. I don't want to be benched any longer."

Gary Moller responds:
Jennifer, I can understand your frustration. There are several things that you could try. Bear in mind that I am reading between the lines and making some assumptions. In doing so, the following advice is healthy, even where it might be off the mark! The advice centres about:
  • ensuring that the underlying physiology of your body is such that you are able to heal properly and grow stronger because something is amiss in this regard
  • Removing any muscle spasm, improving circulation and softening any scar
  • Strengthening the affected areas and improving mechanics
Is it in the water?
Jennifer, you say that you drink a lot of water. While water is essential for life, you can still have too much of a good thing. I do not advocate drinking any more water than one needs because there is a risk that you end up flushing your body of minerals which are certain to already be in short supply in your body. If your minerals are depleted, you will suffer fragile tissue, weak muscles, cramps and spasms and poor healing. Much of this will be sub-clinical and never diagnosed. I would strongly recommend an assessment of your mineral levels by way of a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA). I can send you the kit for taking and sending off samples. This takes out the guessing.

In the meantime, drink only enough to ward off thirst - your body will tell you how much. Ensure it is mineral water and not distilled.

Taking a multi is fine but just the recommended daily allowance probably has no significant effect on your status if you are already low. Furthermore, most multis contain synthetics that are of questionable health benefits. You are better seeking out quality natural supplements and you may have to take more than one or two different concoctions. These usually look like horse tablets! I would place priority on the fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E and K which you are probably low in.

Low iron
With young women, one can assume that their iron levels are low unless confirmed otherwise by a recent test (The HTMA will provide this information). Low iron is indicative of overall mineral status and will be a factor in poor healing etc as earlier described. Drinking lots of water will flush the body of this and other minerals - and the water soluble vitamins, of course!

Is it in the sunlight?
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with joint and muscle pain, including tendonitis and slow healing - and stress fractures, of course! Your run of injuries may have a common factor - low vitamin D and depleted minerals. It does no harm and potentially an enormous amount of good to do everything you can to boost your levels of vitamin D.
This website ( has a wealth of information about this topic.

Exercises for pronating feet
The exercises are your first exercises for preventing further episodes of shin splints and even stress fractures of the lower legs and feet. In conjunction with the exercise I recommend that you replace your shoe inner oles with Formthotics Acitve which mould to the shape of your feet and give the foot just that little bit of support it needs when working hard out. I have them in all of my shoes, including work shoes. I wear Formthotics Low profile in my cycling shoes and find that numb, cold feet while cycling has been all but eliminated.


Anonymous said...

I am really sorry, Gary Moller, but pretty much your entire argumentation is bullshit. That's the only word appropriate for it. I coudl've written what Jennifer wrote. I've also read TONS of articles and I'm battling to overcome them, yet few things seem to work.
As for your reply:
- water:

... oh well I'm not gonna get started. It's just too obvious. Although your reply seems educated, there's just no scientific reasoning behind any of it, whatsoever.
J (contact at:

Gary Moller said...

Re: above...
"I've also read TONS of articles and I'm battling to overcome them, yet few things seem to work."

So, why not try a mix of therapies that do work, rather than dismiss them as bullshit? One therapy on its own will not work.