Author Topic: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches  (Read 11719 times)

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Offline thorbahn

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Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« on: May 29, 2005, 09:24:51 »
Hi, these are the two areas that bother me after I've gone a little ways on a ruck march. Can anybody offer suggestions as to how I might be able to prevent pain in these areas a bit? Obviously some of it is inevitible and personal PT will likely improve it, but anything else, such as how tight to pull the waist-strap, in comparison to the shoulder straps? Thanks.

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2005, 09:44:39 »
Hi, these are the two areas that bother me after I've gone a little ways on a ruck march. Can anybody offer suggestions as to how I might be able to prevent pain in these areas a bit? Obviously some of it is inevitible and personal PT will likely improve it, but anything else, such as how tight to pull the waist-strap, in comparison to the shoulder straps? Thanks.
your shins and lower back hurt on ruck marches? Welcome to the club! There ain't much you can do except cowboy up and keep marching. "March or die!"
However.
I've always found that the tighter my waistbelt is, compared to the shoulder straps, the less pain I've experienced in the back. Put the weight on the hips. For my bona fides: I have a herniated disk in my lower back. I've since completed the BFT, several PT ruck marches, two Coy level Approaches to Contact, and humped Yoda along on two BN attacks. Waistbelt: a good idea.
As for the shins: well, you're screwed, dude. Try placing a towel on the floor, with a weight on one end. Place your bare foot on the other end. Now "scrunch" the towel towards your self by curling your toes. Repeat several times, then switch feet. This will build up the thin sheathe of muscle running along the front of your shin. Also, work your calves with toe raises. Stand with just the toes of one foot on a step. Now, raise yourself up on tiptoe. Repeat several times, then switch feet. Also, spend as much time barefoot as possible. Walk around on your toes, then on your heels. Stretch your calves often. Kneel a lot, by placing your arse on your heels, with your toes extended (like the Japanese do in the movies). Remove your boot bands before stepping off on a ruck march, and take your boot laces out of the top (or even top two) eyelets of your boot. This gives the leg more flexibility, and the boot becomes more of a shoe.

Bottom line: carrying a rucksack sucks. It just plain sucks. It will always suck. You don't have to enjoy it. You just have to do it. The only way to make it easier is through experience. And it still sucks. But now I can shut my brain off (not that this takes a lot), and focus on other things. Like the fat guy beside me suffering more than me. Feed on the weaker members around you. Sing songs in your head. Compose poetry ('there once was a girl from Nantuckett'), and joke with the guys to your left/right.

Ruck up! <groan>
...time to cull the herd.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2005, 10:02:11 »
There are some exercises to balance out your leg muscles and lessen shin splints.  Like many athletic pains, they are a result of weak muscles reacting to opposing stronger muscles, if that makes any sense.  Anyway, I found that I would develope shin splints at the start of the march, but I would be able to 'walk' them out within the first quarter to half of the march.  It is that "Nijmegan hobble' for the next two or three days that takes a lot of getting used to.... ;D
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Offline thorbahn

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2005, 10:55:16 »
Thank you very much paracowboy  :D

Offline GO!!!

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2005, 22:19:02 »
IF you are out of training, and in a unit, you can go out and buy yourself a nice, big soft and comfortable waist belt. Arc'teryx makes a good one, as does MEC brand and online at Arktis.com. Jury rig it to yer ruck and away you go! My ruck rests completely on my waist, all 90 lbs of it!

As for shin splints, kneel on the ground, put your legs, heels and knees together, and lean waaaaay back - it hurts at first, but once you get good at it, your shin splints just go away - a physio showed me that.

Hello rucksack my old friend....
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Offline Double Crypto

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2005, 12:25:24 »
In Civilian life I do a fair bit of backpacking, and have never had a problem with shin splints or a sore back, even with heavier loads in the ruck. That's what good kit will do for you. With the army kit, I can't say the same thing. On the bright side however, after the first five or so kilometers you become somewhat indifferent to the pain, or atleast I do.
I is in university!

Offline Derek

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2005, 21:15:54 »

I hate the pain you get after awhile when your ruck bounces up and down so much you have a layer of skin missing from your lower back. It sucks but it heals, and know I seam to never have the pain I used to have.

I guess its just something everyone has to get used too.
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Offline Moose

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2005, 21:37:15 »
I hate the pain you get after awhile when your ruck bounces up and down so much you have a layer of skin missing from your lower back. It sucks but it heals, and know I seam to never have the pain I used to have.

I guess its just something everyone has to get used too.
 :salute:


Weird, I have never heard of that happening.. are you wearing the waistbelt with the ruck at least? And the shoulder straps done up tight?

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2005, 22:49:37 »
I hate the pain you get after awhile when your ruck bounces up and down so much you have a layer of skin missing from your lower back.
this shouldn't happen. Tighten your waistbelt. Allow the ruck to settle on your hips.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline SHELLDRAKE!!

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2005, 04:47:12 »
 For shin splints, all I do is during your warm up, keep your heels on the ground and lift your toes as though your tapping them.Do this 30-40 times each foot and although you may feel your shins tightening for the first few km's they will loosen up.
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Offline Twitch

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 03:18:44 »
Resurrecting this one from the dead regarding the lower back soreness:

Went on a ruck march this weekend with my unit. First one on Friday was fine as the rucksack sat straight and felt balanced with the exception of it being tight on the shoulders (no chest strap).

The second march was crap, though. I got my ruck on and it felt like there was a basketball between my lower back and the rucksack. I did up my waist strap and all but it still felt awful. The rucksack pressed hard into my lower back and it still hurts today.

I didn't make any changes to the setup so I can't figure out why it was so shitty the second time.

Any ideas?
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 07:48:47 »
Which ruck were you using?

What did you have packed in it (weights, bug out kit, .......)?
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Offline Haletown

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 08:23:04 »


Vitamin A . . .   couple of advil every two hours.  You might be in pain but not feel it much.


Offline Twitch

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 08:37:36 »
Which ruck were you using?

What did you have packed in it (weights, bug out kit, .......)?

Don't know the exact name for it but it looks exactly like the one in the attached pic.

Just had it packed with rations and clothing along with the valise and thremarest. About 40 lbs Valise just held the sleeping bag and groundsheet.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 08:40:52 by Twitch »
Despite the cost of living, it seems to be quite popular.

Offline toughenough

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 09:50:05 »
I had issues with shin soreness early in my career. I couldn't run to save my life on BMQ because my shins would be screaming out in pain. I wouldn't even be winded, it was not an issue of cardio. I mentioned this to my chiropractor, who then massaged out my shins a few times. After the first massage, I instantly tripled the distance I could run comfortably.

My understanding: Any time you are working a muscle, you're causing tiny tears in the muscle fibre. When you rest, those tears heal. Over time, this can actually scar. What my chiropractor said was that he was stripping out the scar tissue. Whatever it was, it hurt like a ******* at the time (as all massages do), but felt phenomenal next time I was out.

So, try getting a massage. Not sure if it's covered in the benefits for RegF, but it'd be worth it to pay out of pocket if you had to.

Cheers

PS - To the guy with the picture, that's an 82 pattern ruck.

Offline Loachman

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 11:02:44 »
I rarely got shin splints, but never got them at all after rounding off the heels of my Mk III boots several years ago. I've worn Magnums for the last couple of years, which came with rounded heels.

They're more like one's own heel that way.

Offline Gumby

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010, 22:56:37 »
Good int so far on preventing the shinsplints... one thing I've found that helps dealing with them was running in water, like at the beach, run straight into the water, try to get to waist deep, then go back for land.  Repeat that a few times.  It may or may not work for you, but I noticed during one of our beach P.T. sessions with Ironman this year, (shins were killing me at this point)  we did this and almost right away my shins loosened up.  Such a relief.  I understand that it's not exactly beach season, so maybe try the kiddie pool?  Or sit on the edge of the pool, and kick your feet in the water?  Good luck, and happy humping!
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Offline Twitch

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2010, 14:13:25 »
For the record, I necroposted to this thread regarding lower back pain. The original thread is five years old.

Thanks for the shin advice, though. lol

My original post:

Resurrecting this one from the dead regarding the lower back soreness:

Went on a ruck march this weekend with my unit. First one on Friday was fine as the rucksack sat straight and felt balanced with the exception of it being tight on the shoulders (no chest strap).

The second march was crap, though. I got my ruck on and it felt like there was a basketball between my lower back and the rucksack. I did up my waist strap and all but it still felt awful. The rucksack pressed hard into my lower back and it still hurts today.

I didn't make any changes to the setup so I can't figure out why it was so shitty the second time.

Any ideas?
Despite the cost of living, it seems to be quite popular.

Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2010, 14:17:58 »
I found that wearing ballistic armour during ruck marches worked better. On my last BFT, people complained about chafing with the rucksack... what better to eliminate it than wearing the armour. Besides, train as you fight!!

Additionally, a lot of leg and lower back stretching for the 10 days leading up to the march really helped.. As well as a well broken in pari of boots.
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Offline Chilme

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2010, 06:33:46 »
Thorbahn,

Check pages 29-30 of the CTS ruck manual for suggestions on how to pack the ruck.  Load distribution is a major factor.
http://canadianmilitaryandefence.blogspot.com/2010/10/clothe-soldier-rucksack.html

For your low back, I would strongly suggest taking some extra time and strengthening the core muscles in the front of your body to counteract the hypertensive muscles in your low back.  At the same time, do what you can to stretch and loosen up the low back region.

As for your shins, it depends on where and how you feel pain.  The are 3 main conditions that are commonly titled "Shin Splints"  The type of pain you have will depend on how to treat it.

Do you feel the pain at the front edge of your shin or the inside edge? or both?  Is it a sharp localized pain, non-specific general pain, or feel like a build up of pressure?

You will also want to consider the age of your footwear, and the change in intensity of marching you have been doing recently.

Determining this will help you figure out how to remedy the situation.

Offline Snapshot007

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2010, 15:04:03 »
During BMQ, you will do 4 ruckmarches (3km, 6.5km, 9.75km and a 13km followed by a 25m casualty drag). For the infamous 13km march, I'd highly suggest using good quality foot powder and mole skin...especially in the summer. We prepared our feet the night before because that following morning we were rucking back to base. Talk to eachother during the march to keep your mind off the pain, motivate eachother...it helps.

As for your rucksack, make sure all the strings on the back of the ruck are secure, I recommend getting an instructor to tell you the proper way to do it. There are not chest straps but there will be a waist strap, tighten it just above your waist, more comfortable believe it or not. 

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2010, 15:14:26 »
As for your rucksack, make sure all the strings on the back of the ruck are secure, I recommend getting an instructor to tell you the proper way to do it. There are not chest straps but there will be a waist strap, tighten it just above your waist, more comfortable believe it or not.

The old 82 pattern rucksacks have a waist strap.  The new CTS rucksacks do have two chest straps attached to the shoulder straps (as well as a hip belt).

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Offline Brutus

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2010, 15:17:00 »
Back: like a lot have said, waist strap.

Shins: I'll add that I have found that loosening the top two or three holes of my boots have helped as well.

Offline Mike63

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2010, 22:26:30 »
Buddy, what ever you do for the shin splints, make sure you get it fixed quick.  How tall are you?  I'm only 5"3, had nothing but problems on ruck marches...ALWAYS!  The pain would reach the point where I would loose feeling from my knees down.  Ended up getting 2 operations on both sets of chins.  The VAC call it "Exercise Induced Compartment Syndrome", the medical term is called "bi-lateral fasciotomy"  Either way, they go in and cut out segments in the 'sack' that encases your shin and calf muscles so that they (the muscles) can expand while being exercised.  In my case, that sack had gotten very thick over the years, the numbness I was feeling was from the lack of blood circulating properly into the shins and calves (very painful after only 3kms), made the ruck marches pure hell for me, made the BFTs even harder! 
I do not recommend getting this procedure because on my first operation, permanent nerve damage was caused by the Dr. to the right leg on the inside of my ankle and 2 years later, put on a PCat and was medically released because I wasn't able to complete anymore BFTs, not operational, not employable!  That was the policy!

My advice to you my friend, stay fit for as long as you can.  Like the other troops have already said, ruck marches just suck, plain and simple.  Switch off the brain to the pain, if you have too, take some pain killers before hand (if you take pain killers...if not, start taking them!) think of something else and it will be over before you know it.
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Offline medicineman

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Re: Saving the shins/lower back on ruck marches
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2010, 23:49:19 »
  The VAC call it "Exercise Induced Compartment Syndrome", the medical term is called "bi-lateral fasciotomy" 

The problem you had was Exercise Induced Compartment Syndrome, and it's not what VAC call it, it's the medical term for what you had going on.  The surgery you had to relieve said problem were the bilateral faciotomies.  Sorry for sounding a bit pedantic, but VAC doesn't just make up diagnoses that are different from the "medical term".

For people with that condition, if they want to continue with the job that they are doing, they need rest, therapy, yes, sometimes surgery (or worst case, all of the above).  If they are uanble or unwilling to go through that, well, they'll have to start looking for work elsewhere.  There are risks with any surgery - the patient, in concert with their surgeon, should make the decision based on what they think the risk:benefit ratio is, not what someone who had a different surgeon says based on their bad experience. 

Compartment syndrome in the calves isn't the only cause of shin splints, though most shin splint syndromes are actually caused by similar things - tight fascia and rapidly developing muscles inside of it coupled with bad biomechanics and exercise habits.  It's best to see a physiotherapist and/or a sports medicine physician/orthopedic surgeon to get this all sorted out.

 :2c:

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