Chances are, if you are a runner, you've experienced the pain of shin splints. It basically refers to the condition called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).
When you overwork the muscles in the shin, the muscles exert a great amount of force on the shin bones (tibia and fibula) to keep your foot, ankle, and lower leg stable. This excessive force can partially tear the tendons away from the bone (the tibia, which is the one on the inside of your leg). Shin splints aren't caused by running, but rather by the impact force associated with it.
Here are some tips to prevent shin splints.
- Before going out for a run, warm up and do some gentle calf stretches, which will prevent injury.
- If you are new to running, start off slowly. Too much too soon will cause shin splints or other injuries.
- Along the same lines, if you've taken a break from running, gradually work your way up to where you were.
- Avoid running on hard surfaces like concrete whenever you can.
- Avoid running on uneven surfaces - it makes your tendons work harder to stay balanced and keep your bones stable.
- Avoid running downhill if you can - try running on a diagonal instead of straight down. You can also try doing the grapevine down the hill. Imagine you are Rocky practicing your foot work.
- Run with correct posture - don't lean forward or backward as you run, make sure your toes are pointing forward and not out to the sides.
- Wear sneakers specifically made for running - they have extra support and shock absorbers.
- Your sneakers should fit you well, keeping in mind whether you have high, low, or no arches, or wide or narrow feet.
- Get a new pair of sneaks every every 350-550 miles. Use the twist test to see if your kicks have had it.
There's plenty more tips, so
Fit's Tips: If you are experiencing shin splints, don't run through the pain. You need to rest, apply ice to reduce inflammation, stretch, and rehabilitate your lower legs first. If you choose to run with shin splints, you could further injure yourself.
Here are some great stretches for your shins and calves to help prevent shin splints.