How To Avoid Shin Splints

So many runners end up in the office of their sports medicine professional with the pain of shin splints. What is this problem and how can you minimize your risk? Here’s what you need to know.

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What Are Shin Splints?

For anyone who usually runs on hard surfaces, shin splints are common. This is a generic term for pain in the lower part of your leg and your shin area. The medical term for this problem is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) and is related to inflammation in your shin bone (Tibia).  This is the result of the force experienced by your shin bone when your foot hits the hard pavement or uneven surface. Pushing through and continuing to run on shin pain can lead to a stress fracture of the tibia or an extended injury.

Footwear

If you’re a runner, your sports medicine professional has probably told you — the right footwear is a necessity. Your shoes should be designed for running, fit properly, and support your running style. Running shoes come in many styles and materials so working with a footwear expert is the best strategy for ensuring you have the right kind. Alternating a few good pairs of running shoes is also helpful so that your muscles and bones aren’t always experiencing the same stress points.

Warming Up

Stretching before your run or exercise gets your muscles and joints ready to go. Gradually build up speed and your shins will be much more prepared to handle the stress of your full-speed run.

Solving Shin Splints

Shin splints can be a recurring or persistent problem. As mentioned above, never try to push through shin pain. Decrease your speed, alternate a different type of workout until you are better, apply ice and elevate your legs, and see your sports medicine doctor for anti-inflammatory and pain medications if needed.

Shin splints are painful and may lead to damage. They should not be ignored. Check in with your orthopedic doctor to learn how to prevent or manage this condition.

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