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How to Prevent Shin Splints

Shin splints are not only relegated to athletes; non-athletes and those who live a sedentary lifestyle can also suffer from shin splints. One of the most common causes of shin splints, in both athletes and non-athletes, are biomechanical inefficiencies. In other words, they walk/run incorrectly or wear incorrect footwear. Proper shin splint prevention begins with a close check of your shoes.

Shin splints preventionFootwear: Your feet bear the weight of your body and a lot of force is absorbed in the lower leg. To prevent shin splints, a visit to the podiatrist for a foot strike, or gait analysis, is the best place to start.

A qualified podiatrist will be able to help you select footwear that is more accommodating to your particular stride. Do not skim on footwear; spending money now on good quality shoes, which are specifically designed for your foot type, is considerably cheaper than expensive treatments later.

After good footwear, preventing shin splints is a simple three step process. First, warm-up before any strenuous activity such as running or exercising; second, stretch your calves and lower legs regularly; third, strengthen your leg muscles like you do the rest of your body.

One more thing; be kind to yourself. Give your body the rest it needs to recover and adapt to the training you’re doing. Trying to run-through shin splints or push through the pain is a sure-fire recipe for a long term battle with shin splints. Only increase your running mileage and/or intensity gradually and avoid overtraining by listening to your body and giving it the rest it needs.

To learn more about how to prevent shin splints and shin splint pain, visit our comprehensive shin splints article for additional information on the points covered in this blog post.

Also, keep an eye-out for my next installment on treating shin splints due out next month. Until then, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.

Kind regards,

Brad Walker
Founder & CEO
Injury Fix™

 

  • Tilman von der Linde

    Stretching, strengthening and running style are three factors that I addressed to beat years of Shin Splints.
    Never being able to get a good stretch I have found that placing my knee in a hyper extended position gives me the best calf stretch. Whereas the best Soleus stretch that works for me is when I lean forward while sitting in a chair with my forearms resting on my knees. the flexion at the ankle and the downward pressure of my arms on my knees creates a great stretch for the soleus.
    Strength and conditioning is another matter all on it’s own. I have found that the wobble board offers enough of a workout for my lower legs.
    Running style is also a factor. I have found that looking down at the pavement instead of the horizon has changed my running style to a slight forward lean which has changed my gait and foot strike and seemingly reducing the time I spend on the ground with each step. I no longer suffer from muscle soreness after a race and credit these three factors in beating Shin Splints.
    Tilman von der Linde
    Muscles in Motion – Vancouver B.C.

    • http://InjuryFix.com/ Brad Walker

      Thanks Tilman, Great tips; I really appreciate your contribution. One other thing I’ve found to help with calf flexibility, is improving hamstring flexibility. The more flexible my hamstrings are the better off my calves are.

      Anyway, thanks again,
      Brad

  • Rick Almand

    Another key tool for the shin (and calf) muscle/tendon complex is to use a massage stick. First, the massage stick helps you find the knots in the fascia and then will remove those tensions far more effectively than just stretching. After 1 or 2 (or 5 days) of direct massage (it will be uncomfortable), the knots should start to dissipate. While I preach stretching to my clients, sometimes only direct pressure will reverse the tension. You should still continue to perform your stretches and use the stick periodically to make sure the knots have not returned. Brad, thank you for your very informative site.

    • http://InjuryFix.com/ Brad Walker

      Thanks for the tip Rick. I’m a big believer in massage and I recommend it for treating shin splints here… http://injuryfix.com/blog/treatment-for-shin-splints/

      A tennis ball is also good for massaging, but a massage stick is definitely the way to go as it allows you to get in a bit deeper. Thanks again for contributing.