T Nation

Shin Splints

Man, it feels like I am very prone to shin splints.

I haven’t always been the best at doing my cardio and this is one of the reasons. I got them really bad this summer. Lately though, I’ve been fine. I’ve been doing a lot of running and haven’t really had any problems. Then today, being a nice day and all, I jumped on my board and did a little skating. Just skating on a flat parking lot, my right shin started to hurt. I just got done doing some running and my shin is killing me.

Does anyone have any advice on how to prevent shin splints. OR how to treat them? Whats the most effective way of recovering them?

Hey I appreciate any and all replies. Thanks.

Most important is to rest the injury to prevent it from getting worse. Try to ease into exercises that tend to cause it so your legs have the opportunity to adjust. You should also try icing down the injured leg whenever you exercise. If you go to a doctor, he will probably give you anti-inflamatories which can definately help out.

I’ve also heard that muscle imbalances can cause shin splints so doing toe raises might be a good idea along with plenty of stretching before doing any exercise.

Also, make sure you don’t run on any hard surfaces (ie: cement). I will agree with resting them, do some other form of cardio in the meantime. My Cross country coach used to have us run on them, and we’d have them for the entire season. At the end of one meet it was so bad I couldn’t walk.

Shin splints usually happen to people who are new to running, once you get really hardcore about running and do it a whole lot you shouldn’t get them very much at all.

Get one of these I used to have the same problem roller blading and downhill skiing would kill me first time out. Since I started using a DARD I have no problems with the shins anymore.
http://www.lifestylesport.com/dard.htm

I used to get shin splints from doing sprints, and I used to run around all the time when I played soccer. I figured out that my athletic shoes, with their big honking heels, were actually the problem. The shin splints haven’t come back since I got a pair of indoor soccer shoes with relatively flat heel.

Shin splints are caused by three things, two of them related to overuse, the other is stress fractures.

If you tend to get shin splints that are localised pain then you are more likely to have the latter. If the pain extends further up the shin then it is either a carpel tunnel inflammation (basically RSI in your legs) or you have a mechanical problem.

Stress fractures have to have time to heal, and when you go back to running or the like you have to move into it gradually and run on softer surfaces.

Carpel Tunnel you have to rest and ice the shins, and try to ease back into running. It can be due to muscle strength imbalances, but also tiredness of the muscles can also be a factor. So easing into running is the best way and allowing time for the calves to recover between running sessions.

Mechanical problems are the tricky one. They can show up as both (usually the latter) and will occur from overuse but any use will cause problems. This is where you should consult a podiatrist and they will recommend the best course of action. Orthotics are the common solution, and not the cheap sports store inserts either.

Whichever is causing it I would recommend consulting a foot specialist if you intend on doing running regularly. Alot of doctors will charge you for the visit to tell you that you should see a podiatrist and take some antinflamatories. If your not going to be running regularly, then making sure you just take it easy and run on soft surfaces and ice the area after are probably best.

I have been told by sources I trusts that doing ankle rotations with added resistance jumpstretch/ iron woody bands is an excellent way of fixing and preventing shin splints.

Just sit on the ground, anchor a band around your waist, make a loop out of the other end and put it around your foot, and move your toes in a circle, or spell the alphabet. This works to some extent without JS bands, though not as well. I understand that performing these exercises corrects imbalances in the calf musculature that predispose you to shin splints.

Also, there is a whole school of thought that insists that running with a heel-toe strike - rather than a ball/midfoot strike - is the culprit behind most cases of shin splints. Google ‘Pose running,’ ‘Chi Running,’ or ‘run barefoot’ for more info on this.

Sprinting barefoot feels great on my shins, better than sprinting in running shoes, spikes, or any other shoe. It also means that I’ll never have to do any special calf exercises!