Ailment is a pain for Rams
NEW PORT RICHEY - In every sport there seems to be a particular ailment that can hobble an athlete or render the athlete immobile. Most common in basketball and soccer are ankle and knee injuries. Knee injuries are also a nightmare for football players. Tennis elbow is self-explanatory. Baseball injuries tend to be arm, elbow or shoulder ailments. In track, a malady for runners is shin splints. These painful injuries develop over time from basically overused muscles, the result of too much running or jumping, especially on hard or uneven surfaces.The pain is due to muscles that are beginning to pull away from the bone. While usually common in the early weeks of the season, the Bay area's abnormally cold and long winter has stunted the season for track athletes. Despite the calendar reading the end of March, it's still February in terms of how the weather has played out. This nasty ailment already has affected one of the top runners in Pasco County, Ridgewood's Karissa Bertling. The senior still was able to capture the high jump and participated on the Rams' winning teams in the co-ed sprint, the 800-meter relay and the mile relay at the Suncoast Relays last week at Gulf High. Bertling doesn't just have shin splits. She has them in both legs. "(Participating) in the high jump really hurt," Bertling said. "I wrap one of them. I try icing them and keeping them wrapped all day. Other than that I try to ignore it. When I'm on the track I don't notice it until I stop running." Bertling is hardly alone in suffering from shin splits. The ailment has afflicted many of her teammates, Rams coach Sue Vien said. "Half the team has shin splits," Vein said. "A lot of runners get them, especially now that we're really training hard. We just have to be careful. We want to make sure we do the exercises to keep (shin splints) at a minimum." The best solution to combating shin splits for runners in the middle of a track season can be purchased virtually anywhere, Vien noted. "We try to ice them and give them ibuprofen," she said. "You just have to work through them." Just fighting past the pain of shin splints might not be enough. If they continue to flare and worsen, it can lead to a stress fracture. "You don't want that," Vien said.