My client, R, spent last winter making tremendous improvements in her health. She lost 45lbs and gained a wonderfully healthy respect for her body. Now spring was around the corner and she had a goal to start running again. She had run track in high school and now her teenage son was on the track team as well. We spent the last few weeks of cold weather balancing out the alignment in her feet and ankles (and by default knees and hips) with lots of inversion, eversion, flexion and extension exercises for the extrinsic muscles of the foot (see related blog). By St. Patrick’s Day she was logging miles.

Her first run or two went well, but then she developed shin splints intermittently. She tried ice, ibuprofen, and stretches for her Tibialis Anterior. All provided some relief, but over time the pain returned with greater frequency and intensity. By Easter she wasn’t running at all.

I asked if when she bought new running shoes for her son, she had bought new ones for herself. Um, no. How old are your shoes? I have no idea.

Herein lay R’s problem. She had done so much work balancing out her gait over the winter, that running in her old shoes was like getting the alignment fixed on her car, but not changing the tires. The old wear pattern on her shoes forced her body right back into her old (mis)alignment, much the way uneven tire treads pull a car out of alignment.

Conventional wisdom suggests changing your running shoes every 300 miles, but if you have changed your gait, don’t wait!

Read about self massage for pain.

Check out our Post athletic stretch DVD

Learn about our Self Massage Therapy Ball Programs.

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