I've been having problems with shin splints on and off (mostly on) since I started running earlier in the year. It's gotten to the point when I reach a good level of fitness and I'm enjoying running, hit shin splints then have to stop for a month. Then it takes me a while to build back into it, then bang! shin splints again. Clearly, I cannot continue like this so I sought out some professional advice.
Two things were suggested - KT Taping, and arch support. Taping didn't really appeal to me. It worked out at Â£6 each time I go running, I'd need to shave my legs for the tape to stick, and things sticking to skin, especially sweaty skin during activity, just don't stick. Then there is the tedious task of actually applying the tape each time I want to go out. This clearly isn't going to happen.
Arch support, on the other hand, works out cheaper and is a hassle free and a set and forget remedy. Just get an insole, stick it in your shoe and carry on as normal. There are a number of different insoles around, and shoes especially for this, but I went for the custom insole tailored to match my feet exactly. Having had ankle and knee injuries in the past, as well as a known excessively high arch, I thought no off the shelf insole is going to work or be comfortable.
When I went into SportsDirect in Glasgow for the fitting of some custom FootBallance insoles. Standing on the analysis machine it was clear just how high my arch is - pretty much the only points of contact are my heel and toes, the bit in between just doesn't make contact with the ground. When my running was analysed on the treadmill, it was also clear that I have a greater than average overpronation. If you draw a line down from the calf, it should ideally run through your Achilles tendon to your heel. As you can see in the photo, there is a distinct curve in mine. Neither of these two things is generally a problem but combined they make me more susceptible to shin splints than most because the forces acting on my foot during running are not going through the correct structures and this has a knock-on effect all the way up to my hips. It's like driving a car when the tracking is out, you can do it but everything is going to wear out that much sooner. These insoles should hopefully correct my tracking so to speak.
After a few minutes, the insoles were being moulded to my feet on a special foam form and once cured they should offer a much greater level of support for my arch and help straighten out my pronation.
Initial thoughts were that my shoes felt more comfortable, I could feel the support under my arch and I did feel a bit more stable on the treadmill. The real test will be my first time out since the last attack of shin splints.