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  • tips on preventing shin splints

    hey guys i just got a few questions about shin splints. Now that i time off, I have been trying to up my mileage running. I've never been a strong runner (much better in the water). Recently, however, my shins are starting to hurt unbearably, I can't even run a full mile now before my shins start hurting intolerably. I've done some research online that says that I may have started running too much too fast or that the muscles on the front of my shins are not strong enough yet. I've been doing toe raises to strengthen my muscles but it still hurts when i run. I have also cut back on the distances that I run and interspersed walking in the middle of my runs but my shins still hurt and I feel like I am not getting the best training doing so.
    I guess my question is, how can I stop my shins from hurting when I run? Is it something that will go away after I build up the strength in my shin muscles or train my legs for running long distances? Or are shin splints something that everyone who runs a lot will have to learn to deal with?

  • #2
    Re: tips on preventing shin splints

    best thing to do to help with the pain is Ice them. I've been dealing with shin splints for over 2 years and I usually catch them after I build back up to 5-8 miles then I take some time off to let them heal so thats probably the only reason I haven't joined the Navy yet. I'm just about finished healing my 5-6th shin splint case over the past 2 years or so. Custom Orthotics helped for awhile, I even did 5-10% increase per week and still catched them. I suppose I'm unlucky when it comes to this.

    Ice and Rest are the 2 best things to do to treat them. You can do Toe Raises and other exercises to help prevent them, also I heard someone say that 1-legged squats helps.

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    • #3
      Re: tips on preventing shin splints

      Niko have you also reviewed your running shoe gear? There is a growing contingent in the long-distance and endurance running community that is reverting back to running shoes with a flatter profile (like the Nike Free or the Nike Eclipse - a flatter less elevated sole like I remember running shoes having around the mid 70's), and some folks are even starting to run with things like the Vibram Five Finger or even running flat out barefoot. It might or might not be somethin for you to consider, maybe just as a recovery option. There's a very good book (in my opinion) out called "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall that kind of lays out the whole "less is more" when it comes to running shoes idea, with some research references to support it.

      Hate to hear your training is getting held up with shin splints but I know you'll figure out how to overcome that stuff Niko!
      Tom Delaney
      St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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      • #4
        Re: tips on preventing shin splints

        Thanks for all the tips! But a big thank you to delaney for the shoe tip. I went to a real running shoe store where the employees analyzed my running style and fitted me with the best shoe for me. Just took them out to day for a run and i got to say, there was no pain at all in my shins. . So thanks delaney for the tip and for everyone else who might have problems with shin splints, check out your running gear, it might just be an easy albeit a little pricy fix!

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        • #5
          Re: tips on preventing shin splints

          Thats great, but still be cautious even with new running shoes. I've tried a lot different shoes before and still get them, but don't let me discourage you. Just don't do too much too soon too fast and do lower leg exercises like toe raise and calve raises.

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          • #6
            Re: tips on preventing shin splints

            I would avoid running in flat shoes if you pronate during your run. That can easily lead to more damage. If you don't pronate, it's worth a shot.

            I would highly recommend two things, both were recommended to me by my orthopedic surgeon.
            -Freeze small dixie cups, apply the top going up and down your shins while peeling off the side of the dixie cup until the entire cup is used.
            -Get a Theraband and use that for physical therapy. Apply it around your foot, and do ankle circles.

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            • #7
              Re: tips on preventing shin splints

              niko, also you should do cross training while treating your Shin Splints. Low impact exercises like swimming, biking, elliptical, and etc. I used my Garmin 410 GPS watch and rode my bike yesterday and had a good workout (didn't feel tired after) for one hour and burned right at 1,000 calories. Not sure if that is good for that amount of time on a bike or not but I wasn't trying to win the top speed record on a bicycle.

              Also the compression sleeves I bought seem to help some with my shin splints. Look into them and decide for yourself.

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              • #8
                Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                If you're still having problems with shin splints after icing, taking some time off and changing shoes, there is an old trick my track coach had us do if we had shin splints. In between your running workout, if your shins begin bothering you, walk a 400M lap, backwards. I know it sounds crazy but keep your body facing forwards and just walk backwards at a comfortable pace, it helped me during my track star days 3-4 years ago. Just do it as you deem necessary, I had a mild case of splints and just did one lap 3-4 times a week and they went away after a few weeks. Keep icing for a few weeks though even if you feel like they're gone and it's overkill..

                Hope that helps
                TJ

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                • #9
                  Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                  Hmm I'll try it out when I start back running in a few days.. nothing wrong about adding to the list of prevention.

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                  • #10
                    Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                    I've suffered from posterior shin splints (on the side of the leg) for a long time....This video documents a good exercise that helps strengthen the tibialis posterior..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vZVq3ov914. I've also found that strengthening the calf muscles and the tibia also helps....Stretching the calves everyday helps too.

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                    • #11
                      Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                      Hmmm I've never heard of walking backwards before. I think i'll try it out the next time i go for a long run. Thanks for the tip! @FusionN7 the only cross training i do is swim every other day with sunday off. I have a weird fear of getting hit by a car while on a bike so i dont ride bikes much . I did just pick up a pair of compression sleeves of amazon, not sure how those will work yet but ill give an update once those come in. Thanks again guys for all the help!

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                      • #12
                        Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                        One thing I was wondering is if swimming with fins while treating Shin Splints is a good or bad idea?

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                        • #13
                          Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                          Ok guys, I wish I would have realized this a couple years ago, but I started wrapping my shins with Athletic Tape just covering the area of pain and havent had a problem yet. Only problem is you dont have full function of your calves it seems. My calves are a bit sore after runs but not a big deal. My pain goes from right above my ankle to the bottom of my calves. I love it, I've been on 3 runs this week with not one sign of inflamation or pain, etc.If you've been struggling with shin splints I suggest looking into it. If you dont know how to wrap with Athletic Tape I suggest you find someone who knows to show you or watch some youtube videos. Now dont go wrap your legs and go for a 5mile run. Ive only been doing 1-1.5 miles since its been months since I ran. All I can say it feels so good to run again! I've tried everything on the net to prevent/treat my shin splints with little to no success. Most of it was very very temporary. If anyone has any input about wrapping shins like this, please give pro's/con's since I just started this.

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                          • #14
                            Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                            Along with the other suggestions that have been given, I suggest you buy a foam roller. You can roll on it to massage your shin muscles (or any muscles for that matter). It will probably be very painful at first, so take it easy and don't go too deep too fast. You want to get to where you can apply most or all your body weight on your shins without much pain. That will relieve tension and break up scar tissue. Shin splints are the result of too much tension in the tibialis anterior muscle causing it to pull away from the shin bone (sometimes breaking pieces of bone with it). Also use rest, ice, compression, elevation, and strengthening and stretching exercises as people have said. And of course, improving your running mechanics and using better footwear will obviously help as you've said.
                            "Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and do them." -anonymous

                            "Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself." -James Allen

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                            • #15
                              Re: tips on preventing shin splints

                              I've been using the Graston Technique from a Chiropractor to get rid of scar tissue and adhesion's in my leg muscles and have to say its amazing so far. Feels like I have new legs!

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