Are you getting ready to ship out for basic training? Perhaps you are simply considering a career with the United States Armed Services and heard that many recruits get painful shin splints in bootcamp. In this article I will explain the phenomenon and give you a few tricks to avoid them for a more positive bootcamp experience.
Basic training, frequently referred to as military bootcamp involves a great deal of physical activity. In addition to working out on a regular basis, being forced to do push-ups and related as a form of physical ‘punishment’ there is also the constant marching back and forth.
Depending where you go for basic training will determine the amount and style of walking. When I went through RTC great lakes we marched for hours every day, wearing steel toe boots. The constant marching caused many recruits to develop painful shin splints along with shooting pains on the front part of their shins.
This happens when you are constantly pounding the ground, absorbing the shock with your heels and sending the shock-wave up towards your shins. While the repercussions are not too serious for most recruits, they can be painful enough to put a damper on your bootcamp experience.
The worst part about shin-splints, is knowing that it can be avoided. If your ankles are nice and stretched on a regular basis, then they will not only be able to take the pounding shock, but they will absorb it comfortably to the point where the pain is not passed on upwards to your shins.
Now perhaps you may think that you won’t have any time to engage in personal stretching exercises during basic training. While that is correct I am simply recommending a regimen of 2-3 minutes every morning and every night for most mornings and nights.
And you can even start this prior to shipping out to get your ankles prepared ahead of time. As you are getting ready to go to sleep, raise one leg slightly. You can be seated or laying down at this point. With your big toe pretend to draw the alphabets in the air. You can choose alphabets, numbers, even spell your own name. The goal is to get your big toe to pull your entire foot in many many different directions.
This will take your entire ankle through a series of random stretching and range of motion exercises. This routine in turn builds up your ankle strength and its ability to absorb the pounding shock of marching in boots on a daily basis.