I’d like to share with you something that happened to a friend of mine who has just run his first 100 miler ultra. He finished the in just over 25 hours and in second place. Not bad for his first 100! That night after the race he was taken ill and the next day was sent to hospital. Long story short. During his training he had ignored shin pain. He ignored the signs of shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) and continued training.
The MRI and X-rays at the hospital showed he had suffered multiple stress fractures in his tibia. These had probably come as a direct result of ignoring the shin splints.
The stress fractures had caused the muscle groups in the calf to swell within their fascia and further progressed to suspected Compartment Syndrome.
If not treated within literally a few hours, muscle tissues can begin to die in a process called necrosis. When this happens nerves die as well. The result can be a loss of a limb. There is a procedure to treat Compartment Syndrome, a Fasciotomy. Trust me NO ONE WANTS TO SEE PICTURES OF THAT PROCEDURE! the lower limb is surgically opened thought the skin, fascia and muscle and left open to allow the compression to ease. So after completing his first 100, he then spent 48 hours in hospital.
Know the first red flags of shin splints. Shin splints can lead to Periostitis, can lead to stress fractures, can lead to Compartment Syndrome. I am not here to scare you, I’m just being the hard voice of reason. Do not think you can run through them. Go and see a therapist who will treat you and give you advice on how to proceed with your training.
Running 100 miles is an awesome achievement. Winding up in hospital with what CAN turn out to be a fatal condition, isnt’.
Be safe. Be savvy. Be respectful of your body.