It’s that time of year again where we start looking at the calendar and deciding on our next running race.

The wintertime in Arizona is when a lot of those happen. Some people don’t use a training schedule although there are some good ones out there. However, sometimes not following one creates for too much too soon. The body isn’t ready for it. One of the most common injuries is shin splints a.k.a. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS). MTSS is from increasing training too quickly and the muscles not being able to keep up.

The complaint is usually pain on the inside of the tibia or shin pain.

It can be seen in high impact sports such as running or dancing. There are some factors to consider such as flat feet, shoe wear and poor warm-ups or cooldowns. Shin splints can be devastating to an athlete and take time to resolve. Resting from the activity is a must. Try non-impact activities such as biking and swimming to keep the cardiovascular benefit while not doing these activities. Ice the area. Look into getting fitted for shoes or inserts. I’ve found that kinesio taping can be beneficial for decreasing pain and inflammation to the area and giving a feeling of support. Also, finding the right exercises to do are important.

A few exercises you can try on your own would aim to increase strength and stability to the foot and ankle, knee, hip, and core.

In regard to the foot, try towel scrunches. Sit on a chair with your foot on the floor. Then put a towel on the floor – preferably on tile or a sliding surface – and scrunch the towel up with your toes. Another exercise is a side-lying clamshell. This is where you lay on your side with your knees bent. Keep your feet together and lift your knee up. Don’t lift your knee up so high that you are rocking backwards. Another exercise is a single leg stance. Stand on one leg and balance for 30 seconds on the floor. If this is easy, then put a pillow underneath your foot. One more exercise you can do is a sidestep with a resistance band. Pick a space where you can step sideways at least 10-15 steps, put a band around your ankles, keep your feet straight and sidestep back and forth.

If you’re doing all of this and finding the pain is still there, then I would follow up with the doctor at this time.

Looking at coming in for physical therapy may also be beneficial. We would do manual techniques with you and create a program for you to do. We can also try modalities at this time. In regard to running, finding the right training program is important because it tells you what days to do what. However, the downfall of some of them is they don’t tell you what exercises to do. One of the programs I’ve used in the past is from Hal Higdon. He has a lot of different ones on his site and I usually refer to that. I believe he even has some exercises that are beneficial to do while you’re training.

Shin splints can be a persistent pain for athletes doing high impact sports due to the repetitiveness of it. There are ways to possibly prevent it by using the right training programs. Also, getting fitted for shoes or just changing shoes more often can be beneficial. Trying exercises to help with strength and stability or trying modalities such as ice or kinesio taping can make a big difference. It’s best not to push through it.

If pain persists, come into a Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy near you to get you back to where you want to be.


We are seeing them everywhere.

Some are even being left in our front yards. So how are these ever-present electric scooters causing injuries that we are treating in our clinics? There has been an influx of injuries from falls and crashes related to the scooter as it grows quickly in popularity. Hospitals are reporting that an average of 2 to 3 patients per day are being treated for scooter-related injuries. This does not even take into consideration the other doctors, nurses and urgent care facilities that treat these injuries.

A study conducted by the Public Health and Transportation department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that half of the injured riders reported sustaining a “severe injury.” The study authors define severe injuries as bone fractures (84%); nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries (45%); severe bleeding (5%); and sustained organ damage (1%).1 According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, there were 38.5 million trips on rentable scooters in the US in 2018. As more individuals are using an electric scooter as a mode of transportation, the injuries can only be expected to be on the rise as well.

The electric scooter seems like an extremely fun and easy way to travel. Please be aware of its dangers as you are on a motorized apparatus that is traveling anywhere between 15 and 20 mph. We hope you do not suffer an injury like so many have already on the scooter.

If you do end up with an injury, be assured that our team at Foothills Sports Medicine will strive to get you back as quick as possible. Find a location near you.

1- Hawkins, Andrew J. “Electric Scooter Use Results in 20 Injuries per 100,000 Trips, CDC Finds.” The Verge, The Verge, 2 May 2019, injury-austin-cdc-study-head-helmet.

Construction injures are incredibly common…

and avoidable in many instances. If laborers were to take the time to stretch before a task or prior to arriving at the job site, then reported cases of workplace injury would likely decrease.

I witnessed a laborer walking up a flight of stairs in a power plant and dislocate his ankle while carrying a couple 2 x 4’s. This man was not in best of shape. Could this injury have been prevented had he been on a stretching and strengthening program? I like to think he could have limited the extent of the injury with preparation. Maybe his boots were too loose? Maybe he was thinking of something unrelated to what he was doing or where he was going while carrying those materials?

I was a union carpenter for 11 years and in trade school we were taught to stretch out before work. Most of us followed this routine, unless you were in your teens or early twenties! Now, as a physical therapist assistant, I have the pleasure of working with tradesman in a different fashion. I get to help them recover from injuries. At the same time, I get to help them prevent injuries by working on a routine of stretching and strengthening. For example, by completing a basic routine of lower extremity strengthening and stretching exercises, a workplace injury such as the one mentioned may have been avoided.

Construction sites can be dangerous places and it’s best to minimize the chance of injury the best you can. Incorporating a routine of stretching and strengthening will likely minimize the event of an injury such as a strain, sprain, or fracture. Stretching the hamstrings prior to bending over to pick up that circular saw may prevent a lumbar strain. Completing some lower trunk rotations in the morning may prevent a rotational injury such as an end of range twist to mark “and go” on a stud. Musculoskeletal injuries abound in construction. We do not need statistics to tell us that. I know from experience many injuries go unreported. In my experience, shoulder and back injuries occurred more than any other musculoskeletal injury. Shoulder injuries could be prevented with scapular stabilization exercises.

Construction is a dangerous job.

It requires a lot physical stamina too. We want our patients to maximize time in their workplace by incorporating a basic stretching and strengthening program.

Prevent further and future injuries at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy. Come in today for your Free Rapid Recovery ®Injury Assessment!