How to prevent shin splints
If you’ve ever experienced the radiating pain of a shin splint, you know that this injury can be painful enough to make you hang up your running shoes for the foreseeable future. And while they’re one of the more common athletic injuries, they can be hugely frustrating for both gym newbies and committed athletes.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing them, from refining your running footwork to making room for a cool-down post-sweat session at the gym. Below, we look at what causes shin splints and tips for keeping the muscles and bones below your knees in tip-top shape.
What is a shin splint?
First, a quick refresher on anatomy: the tibia The large bone in the front of your foot that runs from your knee to your ankle. As you can imagine, these bones do some heavy lifting when it comes to keeping you upright when you stand or walk.
When you feel pain in a shin splint (or what doctors say Medial tibial stress syndrome), what you’re experiencing is inflammation of the muscles and tendons in your lower leg. These muscles pull and pull against the bone after repeated stress, causing the area to become inflamed, swollen, and painful.
What causes shin splints?
Inflammation in your tibia, or shin bone, and the surrounding area can be caused by a variety of physical activities, from going to work in the morning to scrimmaging the local soccer turf at your neighborhood park.
Although anyone can get shin splints, some people—especially active people—may be more prone to getting them:1
- football player
- the dancer
- Members of the military
- People with flat feet
- Those who are deficient in vitamin D2
- People with osteoporosis
- Those who exercise in unsupported shoes
But don’t worry because there are certain steps you can take to continue your physical activity and prevent severe shin splint pain.
How to prevent shin splints while running
Shin splints are commonly seen in runners, especially new runners. The pressure of repeated and high speed foot strikes against the pavement can quickly send your tibia directly into the inflamed area.
Although the condition is common, there are several steps you can take to prevent shin splints:1
- Plant your feet properly – If you run with your ankle turned, or your foot rolled, your front leg muscles have to work harder to stabilize you. Aim to keep your feet evenly spaced as you run and you’ll reduce stress on your tibia.
- Run on even terrain – Running on hills or hard surfaces (such as concrete) increases your chances of developing a shin splint.
- Wear supportive footwear – The right footwear can have a significant impact not only on your lower leg muscles but on your overall body. Runners are encouraged to change their shoes every 350 to 500 miles.3 If you’ve got a flat foot, consider slipping insoles into your running shoes for extra support. Running shoes with shock-absorbing soles can also help reduce the impact of the pavement on your tibia and surrounding muscles.
- Go easy on yourself – Runners are more likely to develop shin splints when they go too hard too quickly. If you are new to running, start training by gradually increasing your running distance. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a break if your shins start to hurt! Remember, there’s a difference between pushing through mental blocks and ignoring the pressure your body is giving you.
How to prevent shin splints at the gym
Runners aren’t the only people who can experience shin splints. If it seems like no matter what you do, your shin hurts the morning after a workout, you may be skipping these two anti-shin splint essentials:
- Post-sweat stretch – When you’re done with a workout, don’t forget to wind down! Carving out some time for a luxurious calf muscle stretch at the end of your session can make a big difference in how you feel the day after a workout. This is also true when your lower leg muscles need to be stretched after a workout or physical activity.
- Strength training – If you experience frequent shin splints and the problem isn’t your shoes or your form, consider adding a strength training segment to your workout. A simple strength exercise for runners, such as heel raises or toe raises, can help build the muscles around the front of your foot, reducing your risk of shin splints. Exercises that strengthen and stabilize your legs, ankles, hips, and core can also help relieve some of the stress on your tibia.4
At the end of the day, those who are committed to staying active may end up with shin splints. If they take you down, you are with the best athletes in the world! With a little guidance on how to increase your form (and plenty of room for recovery periods), you’ll build the resilience you need to stay active, however feels best for you.
For a safe, powerful workout, sweat with Choose Fitness
There are a few steps you can take to prevent shin splints that allow you to work without worrying about the strain and pain associated with them. Don’t let the fear of shin splints stop you from achieving your best. when you register with Choose FitnessYou’ll join an active community dedicated to honing their technique as they achieve their full-body fitness goals.
The team at your local Chuze location wants to help you stay motivated on your unique fitness journey, whether through group classes, 1:1 training sessions or working out. Ichuz App from home. Practice kindness Join the Chuze community today by searching just for you and your bodygym near me“Online.
Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- Mayo Clinic. Shin splints. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shin-splints/symptoms-causes/syc-20354105
- National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with tibial bone pain and tenderness. A possible contributory role. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29314669/
- Runner’s World. Running Shoes FAQ. https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a20806543/running-shoe-questions/
- Fits very well. 8 Ways to Prevent Shin Splints While Running https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-prevent-shin-splints-2911057