A shin splint is characterized by pain in the connective tissues associated with the muscles near the shin. You will usually feel tenderness and pain concentrated in the lower shin during exercise. The pain is usually bad enough that running can become impossible. Shin splints has derailed many competitive athletes, and can negate all of those hard earned miles!
Shin splits are among one of the most frustrating injuries an athlete can experience, and are often caused by:
- A sudden increase in mileage. Try to follow the 10% rule: never up your mileage by more than 10%
- Switching from running on flat surfaces to uneven surfaces.
- Running the same direction on the track (over stressing one leg)
- Rapid pronation
- Worn out shoes
The best way to avoid a shin split is to prevent them from happening in the first place. To do this:
- Ease back into running or exercise: if you are recovering from an injury, or just getting back to the gym, remember the 10% rule stated above.
- Stretching your calves and Achilles regularlyFind another exercise that doesn’t load your legs (swimming, stationary bike)
- Change your shoes: try switching to a shoe that limits pronation. Arch support is key.
- Shock absorbing insoles have been known to help take stress off of the troubled area
- Try low impact exercises that doesn’t load your legs
If you are prone to developing shin splints, stretch your calves and Achilles regularly as a preventive measure. Adding shock absorbing insoles will also help to lessen the impact on your legs.
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