5 Keys for Avoiding Shin Splints When You Run
Running can be a great way to stay in shape and feel great. Unfortunately, many runners are familiar with the excruciating pain in their shins that comes from running. Known as shin splints, this pain is from stress on the tibia when you are running. If you start feeling pain and do not do anything about it, your shin splints can get worse and you may even experience stress fractures. The best thing to do is avoid shin splints in the first place. If you are a runner and want to keep from experiencing that kind of pain, here are 5 keys for avoiding shin splints when you run.
(1) Don’t Use Running as Your Only Exercise
The best way to condition your body for running, and avoid shin splints, is to make sure that your muscles are strong. Whether you are warming up or doing cross-training, be sure to include exercises that strengthen the muscles around your tibia. When the muscles around your tibia are strong, they will take some of the pressure off the bone when you run. That will help prevent shin splints from occurring.
(2) Increase Your Distance Gradually
One cause of shin splints when you run is overexertion. Of course you want to challenge yourself. However, it is important to increase your running distance gradually so you do not overdo it. When you do increase your distance, even gradually, make sure you do not run further than you are able to. Increasing your distance slowly will give your body time to get used to the increased exertion and reduce the chance of getting shin splints at the end of your run.
(3) Pay Attention to Your Running Surfaces
Where you run can have an impact on your body, too. Shin splints can occur when you run on hard surfaces, like pavement, frequently. You can ease the pain in your shins or avoid shin splints altogether by changing your running surface periodically. Running on a track or treadmill will soften your footfalls and reduce the pressure on your shins when you run. Changing your running surface periodically will mean you can keep running without causing additional pain.
(4) Change Your Shoes Often
Just like any other piece of gear, your running shoes can get worn out the longer you use them. Be sure to change your shoes as often as recommended to make sure your feet have the support they need and to reduce your likelihood of shin splints. Shoes that are worn out or are ill-fitting can result in impact injuries and other problems when you run. Along with changing them out regularly, make sure that the shoes you wear meet your needs. They should be rated for running and fit your feet well. Your best option is to purchase them from a running store.
(5) Trust Yourself
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is essential to trust yourself and listen to your body. You know when you are at your limit or are pushing your body too far. If you feel your body is telling you to stop or slow down, you need to listen. Pushing yourself, especially when you feel legitimate pain, is a good way to end up with a potentially serious injury. When you listen to your body’s signals, you can prevent yourself from overexertion or “pushing through the pain” when you are on the verge of an injury.
Need Help With Your Shin Splints?
Whether you are new to running or have been doing it for years, you do not want the pain and frustration of shin splints. Fortunately, these 5 keys to avoiding shin splints when you run can keep you active and minimize the risk of painful shin splints. If you have more questions or want to inquire about if you require surgery, please reach out to Arizona Institute of Motion today!
Don’t want to wait? Give us a call.