Summertime. It's when runners of all calibers are clocking in more miles and fall marathon training is underway. A common ailment that can take runners off the path is shin splints.
Shin splints cause pain below the knee (along the tibia), on either the front, inner or outer leg, and are often caused by overuse. Acupuncture (and sometimes cupping) can be very effective at treating this condition, relieving pain, and therefore allowing runners to get out and run with ease.
How does acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can help to calm inflammation, relax tightness and heal tired and overused muscles.
In Chinese Medicine, diagnosis and treatment are based on a channel and organ system. This system runs through the body much like the subway system in NYC. The channel that runs down the outer leg and over the area most affected by shin splints corresponds to the stomach. It's not uncommon for me to discover that a patient with shin splints also has some imbalance with their digestion (possibly: bloating, constipation, loose stool). By treating the channel and the organ, we often have success at healing the shin splint, as well as the digestive disorders. This is why some call me a magician!
Tight hip flexors can also be a contributing cause. We see this as congestion in the meridians, and help to relieve this tightness by using points that open up the channel that runs around the waist like a belt allowing the hips to relax.
How long will it take?
I’ve seen chronic pain turn around in as little as a few weeks.
In 2002, a random controlled trial, acupuncture was found to be more effective than any other combined therapy*.
Source: Acupuncture & Tibial Stress Syndrome [Shin Splints]. Journal of Chinese Medicine 2002 vol 70