Tips To Avoid Shin Splints!
If you ever had them, you know how uncomfortable it can be. I am lucky I haven't get them since middle school! But if you are reading this, you probably do or are afraid of getting them again. These often occur to those who have recently intensified or changed their training routines. If some of you experience this type of pain while doing 30 Day Breakaway, don't panic! See below my recommendations.
1. Get fitted for running shoes.
Improper footwear is often the source of shin splints. Immediately replace running shoes that are old and worn out. If you pronate while running, which is rolling inward upon impact, it is essential to be in a stability shoe. Professionals at your local running store will be able to analyze your gait and fit you in the proper shoe.
2. Avoid sudden increases in physical activity.
Gradually increase activities such as running, jumping, and walking. This includes spreading out days between activities. If you are new to running, start slowly. Especially during your first few runs.
3. Do a dynamic warm up prior running.
Stretch your calves and hamstrings daily. Tight muscles in the leg can put you at risk for shin splints.Grab a foam roller and focus on calf muscles. Try adding calf raises to your routine. Imbalances can often times lead to pain on one leg. When splitting the lifting and running sessions during 30 Day Breakaway, always do the runners' warm up and cool - down!
4. Stabilize your shin.
Wrapping up shins with a bandage or applying KT Tape pre-run can help keep them secure and stabilized during runs. Compression socks and sleeves can either be worn during a run or after to promote recovery.
5. Exercise on softer surfaces when possible.
Choosing more “pliant” or soft surfaces (eg, sprung wood floors, grass, dirt, sand, synthetic tracks and fields) will prevent your bones, muscles, tendons, and joints from having to absorb so much shock.
6. Strengthen your foot and the arch of your foot.
This can be good place to start. For example, using your toes to pull a towel on the floor closer to your foot while sitting can help strengthen the arch muscles. This may help the arch work more effectively to reduce or prevent shin splint pain. A physical therapist can teach you the best exercises for your feet.
Foot orthotics (ie, arch supports) can be used to assist your foot to work better. If your arch is low orthotics can give support to them. Less frequently, high arches can be an issue and foot orthotics can allow more shock absorption, which will decrease stress.
7. Buy new athletic shoes that are right for you.
Lifting shoes or shoes that lack proper features can contribute to shin splints. Speak with your physical therapist about the right shoe features for you. Depending on your activity, you may need to replace shoes often. It’s a great idea to have several pairs of good athletic shoes, and regularly rotate the pair you use.
8. Strengthen your hip muscles.
Strengthening your hip muscles helps absorb more of the shock and pressure on the leg during exercise. See your physical therapist to learn the correct exercises for your needs.
9. Stay at a healthy body weight.
Increased body weight, being overweight, or obesity can lead to a higher risk of shin splints.
10. Have your running and jumping technique analyzed and corrected by a physical therapist.
Incorrect running, jumping, and landing techniques can cause shin splints. Your physical therapist can help you understand how to improve your exercise technique to avoid shin splint pain. Your physical therapist also can check to see which muscles are tight or weak, and teach you how to stretch and strengthen them.
Physical therapists can observe how a person moves, determine how their body reacts, and then establish a program of care for prevention, recovery, and progression of desired activity.
11. Stop Overstriding.
Understanding the way you run can help prevent shin splints. Overstriders tend to land heel first, with their foot way ahead of the rest of their body. A way to fix this running form issue is to measure your cadence. Count every foot strike with your left leg for a minute. Ideal cadence is between 170-180. If you fall below this, try to increase your cadence by 5-10% to reduce risk of injury.