Healthy Living

How to Prevent Shin Splints

How to Prevent Shin Splints

Key Takeaways

  • A shin splint is an exercise-induced pain you feel along the inner aspect of your shin bone.
  • Doctors may refer to this condition as the medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
  • Even if you are a well-trained athlete, it is essential that you give your body the rest it needs.

A shin splint is an exercise-induced pain you feel along the inner aspect of your shin bone. It usually occurs as a result of overtraining or increasing the duration and intensity of exercises too much and too quickly. Doctors may refer this condition as the medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). It is a common occurrence among athletes and people who play basketball, racquetball, and tennis.

When you work too hard, more than your body can handle, the muscles of your legs weaken, and all of that weight is borne by your lower legs. This increased strain in your lower legs causes an intense pain localized just below the knee and going all the way down to just above the ankle. It can occur repeatedly to those who do not take precautions. Here are some ways on how to prevent shin splints in the future:

Progressively increase your speed and mileage – Don’t run too fast.

As you know, shin splints is a result of overtraining or overexercising. Thus, do not increase the intensity and duration of your exercises too soon. Follow the 10% increase rule wherein you increase the intensity and duration of your exercises no more than 10% per week. This will avoid shin splints in the future.

Give your body enough rest.

Even if you are a well-trained athlete, it is essential that you give your body the rest it needs. Do not exercise or run for two days in a row. Let your body recover after your exercise. You can take a complete day off or you can do some low-impact exercises rather than high-impact ones.

Select the best shoes.

Choose the type of shoes according to your activity because wearing the wrong shoes is another contributing factor of having shin splints. Therefore, the right shoes can prevent shin splints in the future. Your shoes should be comfortable, has stability, and has motion-controlling features. Get advice from an expert in a shoe store and select the right shoes for yourself.

Smooth surfaces are the best place for a run.

Do not run on hard surfaces like concrete. The strain on your legs will be more and can result in a shin splint very easily. Choose a smooth surface such as grass for running, especially in long-distance runs. 

Carry out lower body strengthening exercises.

Heel drop, monster walks, and toe curls are some of the lower body strengthening exercises that you could try. These exercises are great ways to reduce the risk of shin splints. Heel raises and toe raises are additional exercises that you could try to strengthen your calf and shin muscles.

Land on your toes while running.

If you land on your heels, your feet will hit the ground really hard, and therefore, exert a greater force on your shin bones. This will increase your risk of having shin splints. However, if you land on your toes while running, your calf muscles will get a good stretch, while avoiding strained muscles and shin splints.