No More Shin Splints!

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I’ve you’ve ever felt an achy, throbbing pain in the front of your lower leg after working out, it could be shin splints! This type of pain often happens right after you start an exercise program, or if you increase your distance while walking or running. Although most experts don’t agree on what causes them, they do agree on how to treat them. Here are the 5 things you can do to help prevent shin splints:

1. Decrease or switch your training

Repetitive action often causes shin splints. If you feel like you’re beginning to develop shin splints, one of the first things you should do is back off your current training, and try something else! Consider cross-training for a while as your shins heal. Swim, try the elliptical, or bike instead. The main point is — mix it up!

2. Ice your shins

To reduce inflammation, use ice cubes, or freeze water in a paper cup and then tear off the paper. Move the ice briskly over the surface of your shin. You don’t want to just leave the ice sitting on one spot, because you don’t have much skin protecting that muscle. Ice for five minutes, then stop for five minutes, then ice for five minutes more.

3. Stretch Your Shins and Calves

Gently stretch your Achilles and/or your calves. To do this, kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat. In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg. Or alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat four times. These exercises are good for both recovery and prevention. Try to do them three times a day.

Make sure you’re wearing correct shoes

Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, over-pronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics. Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.

Avoid hills

While the pain continues, avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until the shin splints have gone away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence.

 

To prevent or treat shin splints, try a few of these tips so you can stay active and healthy! Here’s to your health.

 

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