Shin splints suck. After all, you don’t want anything to get in the way of your workout routine. That’s your planned route to fame and fortune, right? Okay, fine, you just want to like what you see in the mirror and be happier in your body, but it’s still darned important to be able to work out. That’s where shin splint prevention comes in. If you’ve been suffering from pain in your shins – or are just hoping to avoid getting the dreaded shin splints – here’s a crash course on what they are, why they happen and shin splint prevention now and in future.
Understanding Shin Splints and How to Prevent Them
For Starters, What Exactly Are Shin Splints?
in the muscles along the front of your lower legs, or tiny stress fractures in the bones of your shin. These may occur as a result of working out too much, beginning a workout routine too quickly or failing to stabilize other parts of your body, such as your hips or the arch of your foot. Usually, they’re a result of sustained running, though you can also get them from intervals or running-heavy sports such as soccer.
No matter what the root cause of your shin pain, though, it’s safe to say you’ve been overdoing it in the gym or on the track. If you get a bad case of shin splints, it’s time to slow way down, heal and design a new approach to working out.
Caring for Shin Splints
Shin splints hurt, no doubt about it. Don’t try to “run through” the pain; that way lies greater pain and possibly greater injury as well. Instead, ease off. Even if you have a race coming up that you need to train for, don’t push yourself. The result is likelier to be a serious injury than a miraculous recovery. Some quick shin splint caring tips are below:
- Rest is key, avoid high-impact exercises such as running and box jumps.
- Ice, Ice Baby! Apply ice to your shins for 20 minutes every 4 hours till the pain dissipates.
- Try taking NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen and Asprin
- Toe Raises: While standing, press your back up against a flat wall with your heels about a foot length away from the wall. Lift your toes as high as they go for 20-second intervals.
Shin Splint Prevention: Ramping Up Your Workout the RIGHT Way!
When your pain is gone, it’s safe to resume your full workout routine. However, this time around, try to avoid the mistakes of the past; make a shin splint prevention plan. Most likely your shin splints were a result of starting a workout routine too quickly or ramping up the length or intensity of your workouts too steeply, or of switching some other aspect of your routine. For instance, shin splints are common when people switch shoes without properly breaking them in, or go from trail running to sidewalk routes.
Any time you make a switch, do it slowly. Back your routine down and take it super slow, watching for signs of injury or pain. Once you’ve established a new routine, it’s safe to take it back up again.