Are you a runner? Do you feel you may be suffering from shin splints? Shin splints involve pain below the knee on the front or inside of the leg, and are often characterised by a dull or aching pain. Shin splints are very prevalent in runners and can be a huge burden, the best treatment is prevention, right?
First let's build some awareness around what shin splints are, why we get them, and most of all how to prevent shin splints because after all - prevention is key.
A common cause of this is increasing mileage too quickly or change in running surface, as well as many other factors, including poor running technique and foot biomechanics.
As the treatment of shin splints generally requires rest, it is important to follow preventative measures to ensure that you do not suffer from shin splints.
How To Prevent Shin Splints
Things to consider:
• Don’t increase mileage too quickly
– aim for no more than 10% a week. For example, if you run 10km weekly, aim to increase by no more than 1km each week to begin with. Increasing mileage too quickly in runners is a cause of many injuries and should be taken seriously.
• Get the right running shoes
– the shoes you run in are important. Getting the right shoes for both your foot type and running technique can improve your performance and prevent injury.
• Make sure to always warm up and cool down
– warming up and cooling down are vital in preventing many injuries in running, not just shin splints. Make sure to include specific dynamic stretches in your warm up and static stretches and foam rolling in your cool down.
• Give your body enough rest and recovery time
– don’t overdo it. Your body needs to have time to recover so that it can stay active and healthy, and always be ready to perform. Make sure you have an active recovery plan – stretch, hydrate, fuel your body with nutritional foods and make sure to always get enough rest.
• Avoid heel striking
- Running technique is important in preventing injury – to get your running technique looked at to make sure you are running to the best of your ability and to prevent injury – book in for a running analysis with one of our friendly podiatrists
• Stretch your calves
- This is an important step for runners looking to prevent shin splints, and can be done in a number of ways, including foam rolling and calf stretches. Strengthening your calves is also important – calf raises and single leg calf raises should be practiced regularly. See our intrinsic foot muscle exercise video below for ideas.