5 Ways To Prevent Shin Splints
What are shin splints? The medical definition of “shin splints” is,“pain along the shin bone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg.” Most shin splints occur in athletes but they can also affect someone who is starting a new exercise routine or doing extensive training for their job. I, personally, have always gotten shin splints from running since the time I was a child.
How will you know if you have shin splints? You may notice a pain that runs along the inner bone of your shin. It can be constant or stop when the activity you are performing is done. This area can also feel tender to touch and may have a little swelling. My shin splints are small sharp pains I feel all along the shin in that particular area.
People who have flat feet or high arches are more prone to getting shin splints. Runners who change their running program or increase their mileage too quickly can see this issue. Running on hard surfaces intensifies this pain.
There are ways to prevent shin splints or, if you get them on a regular basis, there are ways to reduce the pain. Below is a list to help with this common issue.
- Running Shoes- The type of running shoe you wear has a huge impact on preventing or reducing the pain of shin splints. Pick a pair of shoes that are comfortable and have cushioning when you step. Keep in mind you should replace your shoes if they feel worn out or if you are an avid runner after you have logged so many miles. Adding insoles or arch supports help to cushion your feet and prevent injuries.
- Mileage- If you are first starting out a running program, make sure you do not increase your mileage too fast. Do not run with full intensity to begin with as this will cause shin splints to flare up.
- Downtime- It is very important you give yourself enough rest and recovery time. You will need to take time off from the activity that is causing your shin splints. You can take a day or until you feel you are able to start the activity again. If you do not want to take more than a day off, you can do a different type of low impact activity.
- Compression Socks- I swear by this method to help reduce the pain of shin splints. You can purchase running compression socks online or in any athletic store. These socks hold the part of the lower leg tight where the shin splints occur. I experience a bit of discomfort when I remove the socks after running or exercising, but it is so much better than not wearing them at all.
- Flat/Soft Surfaces- When you do any type of activity on an uneven surface or a hard surface it takes a toll on your legs, especially in the shin area. Running uphill or on sidewalk or road surfaces can cause shin splints. If possible, try to run on dirt or grass surfaces or even on a treadmill is easier on your body than a hard or uneven surface.
Do not let the pain of shin splints keep you from enjoying activities or being your best self!