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Monday, February 23, 2009

I am training for the Oxfam Trailwalker and have leg and shin pain

Dear Gary,

I'm training for Trailwalker in Taupo in April and need some advice!

I've been walking since Oct, initially 2-3 hours one day at the weekend; added in weekdays and built up to 46km/wk 2 weeks ago, without any problems at all. Last week I did just 29km then worked 15hrs Saturday and 15 hrs Sunday on my feet all day (work shoes, not running shoes; indoors). On sunday I started to notice pain in my right anterolateral shin on walking.

Today I went for a walk and this was much worse, particularly on concrete and stepping down a step onto onto my right. Since finishing walking it is still pretty sore in the anterior lower shin on dorsiflexing and relaxing my right ankle.

Also my left tibialis posterior I think is newly painful today (sore when i set out this afternoon then settled through my 9km walk, but now I'm done, especially noticeable on actively inverting a dorsiflexed foot. Passive movement is fine). (I had trouble with this once >10yrs ago). (I am 29).

I had stopped wearing my orthotics because they were giving me blisters but I will be putting them back in and putting up with blisters from now! I've also watched your video for tibialis posterior exercises - how many of these and how many times a day do you recommend?

I was planning to put in a lot of training the next 4 weekends and increase the distance each weekend - should I do what I can within limits, or do you think I need to back completely off until it is quite resolved? Any other recommendations to help me be able to complete the walk in April?

Thanks very much for your advice,
Christina, here is some quick-fire advice:
  • Find an experienced sports massage therapist and get about half an hour of massage of both legs, concentrating on the sore spots.  Repeat the massage only once every 5 days and gently stretch inbetween daily.  
  • Get a pair of Formthotics Shock Stop Inner Soles and wear them in all your shoes, including work shoes.  commence easy walking the day after the first massage.  Read the articles about massage on this website.
  • Ensure your diet is up to scratch.  Please read the many articles about nutrition and fitness on this site - there is a ton of information here.
  • You might want to try a few glasses per day of Balance Ulitmate Recovery.  This has many ingredients that assist recovery and healing.  If you have a job that has you on your feet all day, then take a pot to work and have it instead of tea breaks.  This supplement will also double up as your sports drink during the Trail Walker.
  • Walk only every second day (Training walks).
  • On the other days, ride a bike swim, do aquajogging, paddle a kayak.
  • Do the Tibialis Posterior exercises every 2nd day.  Do sets of about 30, go do something else for 5-10 minutes, then repeat another 30 and do this about 4-6 times.  Build up to this over a few weeks by doing just 3 sets initially.
  • Concentrate on doing just three long walks per week and only walk as far as you are certain your legs will tolerate sufficiently that you are recovered to do the next training walk without risk of inury.
Enjoy the Trail Walker Chrisitina!

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