The dreaded running problem – shin splints. This type of injury is very common for runners, especially those who are training and may be pushing into a faster pace or longer mileage. Shin splints do not have to mean an end to your running career however and can be treated using the tips below.
Remember, all of our bodies are different and although the below have been affective for many, it’s important to speak with a physician if the problem is getting worse. If you are new to running and get shin splints right away, you may want to go to the doctor’s to make sure you are cleared to run and discuss your overall goals for running.
A Little R & R
I put this tip first because it is the most popular yet, people don’t like doing it. You may be all geared up to starting running farther and faster and here I am telling you to rest and relax after you get shin splints.
The true is, many shin splints type injuries come from over-exertion (a long with other factors). By running and pushing yourself even more, you will not give you shin splints the time to properly heal.
RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
We already covered resting, however the other three aspects of RICE are just as important. Icing your shin splints will help with any inflammation and swelling that you may have. This will also help with short term pain relief.
You can also use a compression sleeve for your lower leg to help reduce swelling as well and remember to keep your leg elevated while resting!
Fix Your Form
It is important to run in proper running form as much as possible to help eliminate injuries. Shin splints have been seen to appear more when a runner is striking the ground with their heal first, usually because they are over striding. This put unneeded pressure on your joints and lower leg which can cause stress fractures and muscle pain.
This is related to the above point, but running and walking barefoot can help your body move towards a more natural running form. Many have claimed that by running barefoot (or in minimalist shoes) they have been able to run and train without much pressure on their shin splints.
However, this type of running style does put pressure elsewhere, forcing new muscles to start working while you are running (such as your calf muscles, ankles, and Achilles tendon).
You may still want to train and exercise and this whole “not running” thing may put a damper on that a bit. That is why it is important to find new exercises that will keep your body in shape yet let your shin splints heal. Swimming is a perfect example. This type of cardio will keep you in shape and in very low impact.
Prevent Shin Splints by Warming Up Properly
Warming up may be very important to help reduce injuries such as shin splints. By warming up your body, you muscles will be at their peak condition and able to perform more strenuous exercises.
If your muscles are cold, they may not work properly or efficiently which could cause injury.
Have you had shin splints before? What are some of the things you do to help stay shin splint free? Comment below!