Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2015

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technique MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUES Race Walking and Shin Splints Specific Techniques to Help Prevent and Tackle Pain By Erik Dalton 100 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 Race walking's (RW) popularity is on the rise as a less-demanding alternative to running. However, unlike some low-impact activities, RW is a difficult skill to master, requiring proper technique and fitness in order for the walker to be competitive. Although little RW injury research has been published, two studies found that race walkers sustained injuries similar to runners. 1 Not surprisingly, lower-leg injuries such as shin splints and ankle sprains topped the list for both groups. This may lead therapists unfamiliar with treating race walkers to wonder how a seemingly low- impact sport like RW would produce running- type injuries. 2 According to my competitive RW clients, the rules of the game are to blame. THE KNEES RULE Among these rules, as mandated by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IA AF), is what is called the Knees Rule. 3 This rule dictates that the knee of the supporting leg must straighten from the point of ground contact and remain extended until the body passes directly over it (Image 1). Some believe the athlete's shin must absorb a force of two to three times his or her body weight during a straight- legged heel strike. This may not necessarily be Examples of the "Knees" (a) and "Loss of Contact" (b) rules of race walking. 1 Tibialis anterior Soleus Tibialis posterior Relationship of the tibialis posterior and soleus muscles in shin splint injuries. 2

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