Copyright 2008, Linda Mae Dennis

All rights reserved

Splintered Shins with a side of Fruit

Floors are hard and flesh is weak. That's the honest truth, and that's why there are so many dance-related injuries. Scottish country dancing, where every third step is, by definition, a hop, is particularly hard on the old legs, and shin-splints are a common result.

Shin-splints are caused by an inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the front or inside of the lower leg. That's the medical definition, but anybody who's ever had shin-splints would have told you the same thing. There's this pain along the shin that feels like the muscle has swollen to such a size that its about to fracture the leg bone. It is exacerbated by any exercise at all, including walking from the couch to the refrigerator. It is not life threatening, but it takes a long time to get well. Especially if you refuse to stop dancing. So what can you do?

Well, you can accept and embrace your shin-splints. You can learn to live with them, nay, even enjoy them. First of all, try not to make them worse. To reduce the swelling and minimize the pain enough so that you can sleep without taking excessive amounts of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, you must ice them down for about thirty minutes after dancing. For this you will need bags of frozen fruit (the mixed melon balls are my favorite), toothpicks, and a TV show that keeps you involved.

Turn on the TV and make sure the clicker is handy. Put your feet up on an ottoman, or another chair. Place one bag of frozen fruit on each shin-splint. Open one or both of the bags and spear a piece of fruit with one of your toothpicks. Enjoy munching on your frozen fruit bits for about thirty minutes. Try to concentrate on the TV program. After about ten minutes, you may notice a searing pain as your legs start to chill down. Eat through the pain. Keep in mind that the last ten minutes are the easiest.

Aren't you happy now to know that you can have shin-splints, keep dancing, and get lots of good lowfat fruit into your diet? I thought so.