By Bethany Muni
It’s springtime in Florida, and what better way to celebrate a balmy day with favorable temperatures than with a jog on a trail? With all the potential miles ready to be run before the heat and humidity really crank up a notch, find out about one of the most common injuries runners can all relate to: shin splints.
What are shin splints?
If you’ve ever had an aching pain along the front-inside area of your lower leg, you may have suffered from a case of shin splints. Generally, the discomfort subsides during a run, only to come back with a greater intensity following it. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are the typically the result of overuse and over-training your shin muscles. The American Medical Association defines shin-splint syndrome as:
The pain is usually a diffuse ache along the front and inside shin area. A stress fracture would be more sharp and local pain over a bone. If the pain becomes chronic (> 3 months) your pain and symptoms may persist at rest.
What causes of shin splints?
- Lack of proper footwear
- Training errors- increasing distance, intensity, duration too soon; running on hard, uneven, incline surfaces, over striding
- Poor biomechanics- heel striking, forefoot striking
- Inadequate calcium intake
- Having a previous shin splint injury
So what’s the big deal?
Pain in your body is an alert signal telling you that something isn’t normal. Yes, with a few weeks rest, the pain will deteriorate granted you’ve eliminated the aggravating activity. However, ignoring this injury can eventually lead to a stress fracture and a much longer recovery period.
How do you treat shin splints?
- REST! On average maybe 2-6 weeks depending on how severe it is.
- Ice will be your best friend to reduce the pain and inflammation. An ice massage can be done for 10-20 minutes at a time for a few times during the day.
- Cross-training exercises, such as swimming and biking, will keep the stress off of your lower leg and allow you to maintain your cardiovascular endurance to allow proper healing.
- Once pain has subsided, running recovery program will help guide you to full range motion, great strength, and a guided program to return to 100% pain free running
- Proper shoe wear that can support your arch and control for shock absorption
- Remember running injuries occur due to 3 things: Structural issues, training errors, and biomechanical errors. Solve the problem that caused your pain is the answer to resolving your shin splints!
- When you return to running follow the 10% rule: Don’t increase the workload greater than 10% of the previous week
Start your running recovery program today and stop being in pain!