The Calf Blowtorch: How I Dealt With Shin Splints

Back in late August 2014, I started experience pain in my shins. I had been increasing my mileage as I trained for the Thunder Road Half Marathon, and shin splints are usually caused by an increase in mileage. The most common advice I found for shin splints is to take a week off from running. At the time, I felt like I couldn’t afford to take a full week off from running and still run my race at a decent pace. So I looked around some more.

I found the Calf Blowtorch.

The article doesn’t name the exercise (although they do describe it as “magical,” and I have to agree), but I came up with that nickname after trying them once. When I was done, I felt like someone had used a blowtorch on my calves. The pain went away after a few minutes, and there seemed to be no lingering soreness, so I kept doing them daily for a week. After a week, my shin splints were gone.

Every so often, if I start to feel a little bit of pain in my shins, I’ll break out the calf blowtorch exercise. The nice thing about them is that, in theory, if I wait 5-10 minutes, I can go for a run after doing the exercise. (In reality, during the week I’m usually pressed for time because I’m trying to get in a run before work, so I try to do them on a rest day.)

I should throw in the standard disclaimer that I’m not a doctor, and if you still have shin pain even after doing this exercise for a week, you should go see a doctor and find out what’s wrong. But I can say that, as painful as it is, this exercise worked wonders for me, and I’d recommend trying it out. Anything that keeps me running is a good thing.

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