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Tips and Tricks for Shin Splints - by Dr. Mike

shinsAnterior lower leg pain can come in a variety of ways.  Most commonly referred to as shin splints, this can vary from mild amounts of pain to excruciating pains.  On the milder end of things, this can set you back a few days from your training, but on a more extreme end can lay you up for weeks at a time and even force a change in activities.  The milder end of things can occur as a first time offense of running while unprepared, unstretched or undertrained, while the more extreme can be chronic issues and as bad as stress fractures in the shin bone.

Shin splints are more common in adolescent runners and our weekend warriors, who sit at a desk all week and then decide they want to train for a 5K or 10K race.  They are severely undertrained and have really tight muscles in the lower legs which are a recipe for disaster and injury.

Making sure to properly hydrate and stretch before a run can be a great first line of defense against injury.  Taking it slow when you are first starting out, by not running to far too fast or for too long at a period of time can help tremendously.   Investing in a foam roller to help aid in recovery can help too, or purchasing some compression socks to dampen the impact and vibration while running can help too.

When it comes to shin splints, use the KISS method.  If you are injured or your legs begin to hurt after a run, don’t continue to run injured without doing some self-maintenance first.  Keeping the muscles of the lower leg loose, making sure to listen to what your body is telling you and being properly hydrated are all key factors to avoiding injury.

 

– Dr. Mike

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