Prevention is always better than cure. So, why allow shin splints to occur while running?
Shin splints are usually a result of increased running intensity and/or frequency, wrong running form, or poorly fitting footwear. If left untreated, they become one of the aching running-induced injuries. Such a medical condition is capable of getting in the way of your workout through its acute pain.
Do you think you can afford to have such a nasty pain? Why not stop the “‘ooh” and “ouch’” before you running?
Therefore, it is wise to prevent shin splints so you can be a “protected” runner, rather than being a healing shin splints patient! Here are some simple ways to keep them at bay while running.
Perform Shinbone-friendly Warm-up
Before running, a 5- to 10-minute warm-up with proper exercises can help beat the shin splints. Timothy Tolbert who is an athletic training professor at Marshall University in West Virginia recommends the following warm-up exercises.
- Heel Drop: Stand with no space between feet on a lower step, put weight on right foot, place left toes towards the rim (hanging), and plunge left heel below the step by a few inches. Be in this pose for half a minute and then repeat with the other feet.
- Soleus Stretch: Place the palms at shoulder level, touching the wall and place right foot forward touching the wall with knees bent a bit. Now, with bending elbows, bend over the wall. Be in this pose for half a minute and repeat with other foot.
- Supine Hamstring Stretch: Lie down on floor by extending the right leg and pulling the left leg upwards, as close to vertical 90 degrees. Hold 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat.
Running too much, at higher intensity than normal, or too often is linked with shin splints pain. Therefore, to prevent it, it is wise to increase both the distance and speed gradually.
Avoid that extra mile temptation if you are a beginner. You need to take short breaks in between. It is ideal to begin with 20 minutes and increase the distance and speed by 10% per week.
Rest in Between
If you are a starter, do not succumb to the passion of running on each day. Doing so shall restrict the throbbing on your bones, joints, and muscles so that the body can recover. In case of an experienced runner, consider keeping one or two days off each week to alleviate the danger of shin splints.
Target Softer Grounds
Running on concrete or hard surfaces triggers more stressful impact. Therefore, it is best to run on different smooth and grassy tracks.
Wear the Right Shoes
Always wear the footwear that a professional at a dedicated running store recommends. Doing so ensures comfort and least stress for your foot and gait, as compared to the wrong shoes resulting in shin splints. Look for stability or motion control designs, not minimalistic ones. Similarly, replace the pair once 300 miles are covered.
No Heel Strikes Please!
Striking forward with heels can trigger shin splints pain. Therefore, consider landing on the foot’s ball or on mid-foot.