Shin splints are very common and irritating. It’s typically a reoccurring injury as very few people actually know and deal with the underlying cause. The repetitive excessive force running places on the muscles and joints can lead to swelling and increase the pressure against the bone, leading to pain, inflammation and even stress fractures. At this point most people will just ice the area, rest and wait for the pain to subside. This isn’t an incorrect approach as it allows the body to heal. However, it doesn’t prevent the injury from reoccurring.
How do you know if you have shin splints?
• Dull ace in the front part of the lower leg
• Pain that develops during exercise
• Pain, tenderness or soreness on either side of the shin bone
To note – most beginners will have some form of shin splints or lower leg discomfort when they first start running. This is completely normal and the pain should go away as your body gets used to the stress. This article is aimed at people with constant shin pain after running.
If you are experiencing pain all of the time (even when you are not running) then you will want to stop exercising and go and see a doctor. You may have stress fractures in your lower leg bone.
If it does turn out stress fractures in the tibia (lower leg bone) this will be the cause of your shin pain and it can take between 4-6 weeks to heal. You will want to look at your diet. Including vitamin D3 bound with vitamin k2 will help your body absorb calcium. Strength training will also help.
What steps can you take to prevent shin splints?
• Increase your millage slowly. This is a no brainer – don’t go from running a couple of miles per day to 20k overnight.
• Strength train. This is a big one. Most endurance runners have weak muscles. Two important muscle groups associated with shin splints are the main calve muscles – Gastrocnemius and Soleus and the quadriceps (upper, front thigh) which is made up of four muscles. In this article we are going to focus on the vastus medialis muscle.
If the calf muscles are weak you will have less stability within your ankle and knee joint – which can contribute to shin pain. If your vastus medialis muscle is weak you will have less stability at the knee joint and your knee will not track forward correctly. This can lead to shin pain.
• Wear the correct footwear. If you have reoccurring shin or foot pain or you are just serious about your running. Then getting your foot examined and purchasing the correct type of footwear for you is very important. For example, some individuals will need a shoe that supports a high arch and some will need footwear that supports a collapsed arch. FYI – if your foot over pronates (collapsed arch) you are more likely to develop shin splints and just have more knee pain in general.
If it does turn out stress fractures in the tibia (lower leg bone) this will be the the cause of your shin pain it can take between 4-6 weeks to heal. You will want to look at your diet. Including vitamin D3 bound with vitamin k2 will help your body absorb calcium. Strength training will also help.
By Liam Horne.