Mention the words “shin splints” to an athlete—then watch out: This acute form of agony strikes fear in the heart of anyone who pounds the pavement, plays the court, or works out on any type of hard surface.
Could you be at risk? Yes. Shin splints are fairly common among runners (who account for as much as 20 percent of shin splints). But these painful episodes—directly caused by muscle tears and swelling around the shin bone—can happen to anyone. And they can be avoided.
But first, some background: Shin splints can occur for any number of reasons. Increasing your distance too quickly, changing from a flat to hilly terrain, wearing worn-out running shoes—any of these factors can cause shin splints. Foot mechanics play a big part, too; the position of your feet (especially if you experience under- or over-pronation) combined with the wrong shoes and poor technique are a proven recipe for shin splint pain.
Shin splints don’t just happen on the road, trail, or track. Basketball players, gymnasts, tennis players… anyone pushing their game on a hard surface can suffer the pain.
Once you get shin splints, they throw a major curve into your fitness routine. Here are a few tips for prevention and recovery:
SHIN SPLINT PREVENTION
- Avoid increasing how far you run by more than 10 percent from one week to the next.
- Alternate between days running on a hard surface and running on grass or softer surface.
- Pay attention to your shins—and ease up if you notice pain.
- Strengthen your feet and lower legs. Some options are running without shoes, rolling the arches of your feet on a foam roller and performing other strength training exercises.
SHIN SPLINT RECOVERY
- Rest (or engage in a low-impact exercise, such as the Octane Zero Runner).
- Ice your legs for 20 minutes (or more) two times a day.
- Stretch your legs.
- Get your athletic shoes professionally fitted (and get checked for under-pronation or over-pronation).
- Move a foam roller around the painful parts of your leg. This can ease the pain, and is especially beneficial when the pain is in the muscles.
To learn more about equipment that can ease shin splint pain or boost strength in your lower legs, talk to a Gym Source representative for recommendations.
With thanks to our sources: http://greatist.com/move/how-to-relieve-shin-splints and http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/shin-splints