Monday, October 25, 2010

Shin splints and funky toe shoes.

I once got this really annoying injury called plantar fasciitis not from running but from walking around in flat shoes for an entire winter, when I tried to go back to normal shoes, the problem arose. Now this happened to me because I have a bit of an arch and my feet do not like flat shoes, especially ballet flats. My feet really like to either be barefoot or in a good sturdy 2.5-3" heel. I am not a doctor or anything, but I know what my body likes. Something we constantly have to remember in Yoga in order to prevent injury. Well I went to a podiatrist and he told me in order to allow it to heel I was to stay off heels. Well I will tell you the problem did not even begin to get better for 2 weeks. I could barely walk until I finally decided to walk around my house in comfortable heels...fixed in 1 week!

However, when I tried to get back onto the treadmill I started getting shin splints. One of the most annoying injuries ever because it takes forever to heal itself and it feels pretty miserable. I all together gave up running for a long time and though I sort of hate running, I do get runners high and I feel awesome after finishing a run. Lastly running is one of the few exercises where I see immediate results in my weight. After careful examination on the whole running situation I started to see that I was a heel striker. When I'm in running sneakers, I would strike my heel down first, then slap the rest of my foot down. I read all kinds of stuff about it but I also realized how much it applied to me. If I got on a treadmill with running shoes and tried to run for 10min at the speed of 5, I would feel the shin splints. I noticed in Capoeira class they had us warm up by running around on a wood floor barefoot, no pain. I started to realize, when I was barefoot I was no longer landing heel first. Further researching the whole thing I came upon theses weird toe shoes...Vibram 5 fingers. They have totally changed my whole view on running. I LOVE them. I still hate the task of running but once I get going and finish I feel pretty awesome. I don't recommend this for everyone, but it totes works for me! I have 2 pairs.

Above is the pair I use to run outdoors, which I do once in a blue moon. I have a friend who runs outdoors in them regularly, up to 10 miles...and then any more than that she swaps them for running shoes, but ultimately goes back and forth bc the Vibrams trained her to run more properly, thus preventing injuries. This also greatly helped my knee pains. Heel striking was really hard on my joints!

Now 2 great poses for shin splints.
1. Sarvangasana. Shoulder stand. Yeah one of my least favorites but I am pushing myself to do it more and more.
Lie flat on your back with arms by your sides, palms press down to the floor. Swing the hips and legs over head. Try to straighten legs, and flex feet, try to get the feet to touch the floor behind you. Interlace the fingers and walk the shoulders in towards each other. Now bring the hands to the lower back. Make sure you're not on your neck but you are on your shoulders. Bring legs straight up.

2. Viparita Karani. Legs up the wall pose. Sit with one side against the wall, legs extended, with one leg touching the wall. Lie down on your back and swing legs upward, positioning your butt where the floor and wall meet. It also feels really good to put a pillow or bolster under your sacrum.

These poses are both great to stay in for a long time as it allows the blood to flow back to your center, which helps the inflammation from the shin splints. Try it! Legs up the wall is also generally a great alternative to headstand or handstand.

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