Runner’s Dilemma: Shin Splints
The feeling of the wind at your back. The resounding thud of your feet. The ground passing beneath you. A comforting burn in your chest. If you’re a runner, there are a plethora of elements you enjoy about this activity. However, the ache and pain of shin splints is definitely not one of them. Most runners will experience medial tibial stress syndrome at some point in their running career. Fortunately, the condition is easily managed and shouldn’t get in the way of your running!
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin splints occur when excessive force or strain is placed on the muscles, connective tissues and bone of the shin. People with extreme arches (either very flat or very arched) are often more susceptible to experiencing shin splints. While shin splints most commonly affect runners, dancers are also at risk. If your running shoes are ill-fitting or extremely worn, your feet may lack the support they need, making you more susceptible to shin splints. Downhill running also makes you more likely to develop this condition.
How Can I Prevent Shin Splints
You can help prevent shin splints by:
•Avoiding sudden increases in activity or changes in workouts. Instead, slowly ease into a new workout, allowing your body time to adjust.
•Engage in other low-impact activities in addition to running.
How Are Shin Splints Treated?
Shin splints, like any other overuse injury, are often treated with rest. This doesn’t mean completely avoiding activity, but instead engaging in low-impact activities (biking, swimming, etc.) until the shin has had time to heal. An over-the-counter pain medication can help manage discomfort, as can ice.