Anyone who has experienced shin splints can tell you just how painful this seemingly innocuous condition can be. If you are a runner, chances are pretty good that you’ve experienced this issue before. Shin splints are fairly common for athletes and runners and can be so painful that it can affect your daily routine and keep you from your favorite activities.
Why do shin splints happen?
If you are new to running then you may be prone to developing shin splints in the very beginning. This could happen for several reasons:
- You might be taking on a bit more than you can chew when it comes to the intensity or duration of your new exercise routine
- You could have tight calf muscles
- Your shin muscles might actually be weak
- You may have a biomechanical imbalance in your feet (e.g. pronating when you run)
How do you prevent shin splints?
The goal is to protect runners and other athletes from developing shin splints altogether; fortunately, there are a variety of tips that any podiatrist can provide you with to make sure your exercise routine doesn’t leave you icing those aching shins.
Here are some ways to prevent shins splints.
Slow and Steady
While we would all love to suddenly be able to go out there and increase our mileage or intensity of our workouts you can’t expect to go from zero to 60 in a short span of time. Your muscles need time to strengthen. If you drastically increase the intensity or length of your workout then you may leave yourself prone to developing shin splints.
Avoid Hard Surfaces
While pounding the pavement may be your daily routine, if you can avoid this hard surface that will certainly reduce your chances of shin splints. Running already puts stress on the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments in your legs, so imagine how much more stress occurs when running on asphalt or other hard surfaces? Whenever possible, choose grassy softer terrains and trails.
Choose the Right Shoes
If you’ve had your shoes for more than 300-400 miles then it’s time to kiss them goodbye and get new ones. Running shoes don’t last forever and as the cushioning and support wear out, you are more likely to develop shin splints. Turn to a specialty running store to help you choose the right shoes for your active feet.
Give it a Rest
Your body needs time to recover, no matter how much of an experienced runner you might be. If you are just starting out, it’s important to give your body ample time to recoup. This means trying to limit your running so you aren’t doing so twice in a row. If you are an avid runner you’ll still want to take one or two days off a week to let your body recover.
If shin splints are plaguing you or if you are dealing with foot and ankle problems it’s important that you have a podiatrist by your side to provide you with the treatment you need whenever you need it.