If you have ever had them, then you recognize they are the pits. No, not a stomach bug (although, that is also the worst)—we are talking about shin splints. That ill-natured pain concentrated in the front of your leg along the tibia, shin splints are typically experienced throughout and after exercise and when you press on the affected area.
In less common cases (about 10 percent), the tightening pain can be felt in the soft, outside, muscular part of the shin. The pain is sometimes bad enough that running becomes not possible, and then it subsides once you stop running.
Shin splints have derailed many athlete’s hard-won training gains. They are among the foremost frustrating injuries because they make a basic act—running—impossible. However, the term ‘shin splints’ truly denotes more than one lower leg ailment.
Bone-related shin pain referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome will cover a broad spectrum of ailments, starting from a stress injury (irritation of the bone) to a stress fracture (an actual crack in the bone). The area hurts during and particularly after exercise, and also the tibia hurts once touched or tapped.
Bone-related shin pain is a lot more common than muscular shin pain (by about 9 to one); the bone really swells and, if irritated for long enough, a break will occur. It is typically the results of three variables: body mechanics, amount of activity, and bone density.
Body mechanics include foot type, foot strike, and the way your body is constructed. Activity will cause it if you up to your training workload too soon. Bone density is an even bigger issue for ladies. All three of these variables can be altered or compensated for to help alleviate the problem.
What are the Causes for Shin Splints?
There are a number of reasons why shin splints can happen. Some of the common shin splints causes include:
- Excessive training
- Muscle imbalances or tightness, particularly in the calves
- Poor technique, particularly when running
- Unsupportive footwear (including training in footwear that is worn out) or wearing the wrong workout shoes for the intensity of the exercise
- A sudden increase in the amount of exercise or the intensity of training
- Improper training
- Regular training on uneven, sloping or hard surfaces
- Problems with foot posture, such as over-pronation or flat feet.
Shin splints can also be a sign of a problem with running style. For example, taking strides that are too long for your natural gait can put excess force on your shins. Feet that roll inwards can also put a strain on the tendons and muscles of your legs, causing trauma.
Now, it is not necessarily the exercise causing the problem. Generally, shin splints are caused by repeated stress. That means they can arise because you are pushing your body too hard, too fast or by continuing to train when there is a problem.
Basically, your lower leg muscles can become overloaded, so they are not able to deal with the impact of landings, or things like quick direction changes, as well as they, would usually.
How to Deal with Shin Splints
If it is Bone-Related
Make sure to check a doctor for correct diagnosis. Stress injuries will become stress fractures, which might sideline you for a long time. In addition, it is critical that you employ dynamic rest. Find another activity that does not load your legs. Swimming and stationary cycling are good choices.
If it is Muscular
Two words: Foam roll. Part of the problem with ECS is tight fascia, the tough material that wraps most of our muscles. Run your shins and calves over a foam roller for some minutes several times each day to assist loosen the fascia. Manual massage can help as well.
Also, try arch support and motion control shoes. These can help correct biomechanical problems in the feet and take the stress off the affected muscles. If these measures do not help, see a doctor.
How to Prevent Shin Splints?
- Try to change your shoes: try changing to a shoe that limits pronation. Arch supports can help as well.
- Up your calcium and vitamin D intakes: Try 1,300 milligrams of calcium and 400 micrograms of D per day. Easy food sources are milk and yogurt.
- Follow the 10-percent rule: Runners, never up your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent.
- Train your hips and core: Strengthening these areas will make you a stronger runner, which improves foot strike and body mechanics.
- Shorten your running stride: Doing this while increasing your foot strike cadence may help you generate better stride mechanics because you’ll be putting a lot less load on your feet, shins, knees, and on up the kinetic chain. Count your foot strikes on one aspect for one minute. A good range is eighty-five to ninety strikes of one foot per minute.