A Runner’s Guide on How to Treat and Prevent Shin Splints

Danh NgoAnkle Pain, Knee Pain, Pain Relief Division, RunningLeave a Comment

Shin splints may feel like your shins are splitting. You are not alone. Up to 20 percent of runners encounter shin splints during their lives. 

Pain can be debilitating, preventing you from moving your legs and feet. It may feel like you can’t get help. But there are ways you can prevent and treat shin splints. 

What are some stretches that can strengthen your body? How should you prepare for running? What should you do once you encounter pain? 

Answer these questions, and you can run for miles without suffering from painful splints. Here is your quick guide.  

Strengthen Your Leg and Foot Muscles 

Shin splints involve inflammation in your soft tissues. To prevent inflammation, you can engage in some strength training. 

Toe raises strengthen your anterior tibialis muscles, which run through your shins. Stand on the edge of a step, with your toes hanging off the edge. Grip a wall, so you have upright balance. 

Extend your toes as far as you can until your heels sit on the edge. Then pull your toes upward toward your shins. 

Hold the position, then lower your toes down. Repeat the process with your other foot. You should do a few dozen repetitions on each foot. 

Heel raises add definition to your calf muscles. Stand with your feet aligned with your hips. Grip a wall or railing in case you need support. 

Lift your heels off the floor until you feel your muscles tightening. Hold for a few seconds, then lower and repeat. 

Monitor Your Form 

Many people lift off on their toes and land on their heels as they run. This is common, yet it can stress the shin and calf muscles. You should land on your soles. 

Take a look at your form as you run. You can do so in front of a long mirror, or you can film yourself as you move. Pay attention to how you position your feet. 

Being mindful of your form may be enough to help you land on your soles. If that isn’t enough, you can run barefoot. You are more likely to land on your sales when you don’t have shoes on. 

Plan Out Your Runs 

Make a plan for each run you perform, even short ones. Consider running on softer surfaces like grass and dirt. Running on concrete can stress your muscles. 

Start with small runs that get longer through time. A one-mile run sounds small, but the average person burns 100 calories per mile. It will help you go a long way toward remaining fit. 

Give your muscles time to repair themselves. Put at least one day in between each of your runs. If you still want to exercise, engage in something light like swimming. 

Get the Best Tools for Long-Distance Running 

If you choose to wear shoes, it is essential that you find a good pair. It should be specific for running, and it should fit your form. Make sure the bottoms are not worn down or too tight against your feet. 

You should also wear clothing that will not constrict your muscles. Find shorts that breathe and give your legs room to maneuver. You can wear pants, but you should find loose-footing ones with soft fabric. 

Drink plenty of water while you are out running. Add anti-inflammatory substances like lemon juice or ginger root. You can carry a bottle in your hand, or you can wear a belt that stores your water. 

Manage Pain While Running 

You may encounter pain while you are running. You can keep running, but slow down and try to wrap up sooner than normal. 

Pay attention to where the pain is coming from. You may have shin splints that radiate down or up your legs. This indicates problems throughout your legs that you need help with. 

Drink some more water. This can flush toxins out of your soft tissues, reducing inflammation. 

If your pain is too severe, you should stop. Perform some toe raises and heel raises. If that is too painful, massage your shins with the tips of your fingers. 

Seek Out Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine 

You may develop shin splints in spite of your preventive measures. Do not panic. This does not mean that your pain cannot be cured. 

Turn to someone with a specialty in sports medicine. They can be a doctor or a therapist, but they should know how to treat your muscle pain. 

You can pursue several therapies to manage your pain. Transcranial direct current stimulation forms new pathways inside the brain. This can help you respond to pain faster and easier. 

Muscle rebalancing therapy helps restore nerve function to damaged muscles. Some nerves get damaged when the muscles themselves get torn. By repairing nerves, you may encounter less pain. 

Schedule an appointment with a therapist and talk to them about your shin splints. You can start treatment within your appointment, or you can wait. 

Be patient. Shin splints can be painful, and it will take time for your tissues to recover. But they will heal if you follow your therapist’s advice. 

Cure Your Shin Splints 

Shin splints are a scourge for many runners. But stretching prevents shin splints. Hone your shin and calf muscles with toe and heel raises. 

Land on your soles instead of your heels. Run-on soft surfaces so you don’t strain yourself. Drink plenty of water and wear baggy clothes. 

When you encounter pain, stop and perform some stretches. If you encounter chronic problems, turn to a sports medicine specialist for advice. Pursue personalized therapies to lift your pain. 

Don’t hesitate if your shins are splitting. Revitalize Rehab Club serves the Long Beach area. Schedule a consultation today.

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