There isn’t a lot that can be done after onset, so prevention is your best bet.
The first thing to pay attention to is having the proper equipment and in this case that involves the right running shoes. The properly fitted footwear will help keep the proper biomechanics in the foot, ankle, and knee. Shoes should also have the right support that you need to help decrease overstretching the Achilles tendon and other supporting soft tissue structures that can lead to shin splints. Another piece of equipment can be a compression sleeve for your shins. This will help even out the pressure in the calf and decrease the stretch on the fascia.
Over training is another preventable cause of shin splints. Many times runners and athletes try to make too big of gains too fast. The average athlete has to ease into there activities on a steady progression. The average for running is to increase at 10 percent increments per week. This same principle can be added to any workout routine to help avoid injury.
Proper technique is another main factor to avoid this problem. When running the head should be held high and the arms bent at 90 degrees. This decreases tension from building up in the upper back and neck during your run. Also, the heel of your foot should strike the ground first. This allows for a natural rocking motion to occur in the foot. Weight is transferred from the heel, mid-foot, and then the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot allows athletes to “push off” and continue to run in a fluid motion. Overall, the body should move in a relaxed and flowing form.
Running should be done on softer surfaces that give so that the forces aren’t as great on the legs when running. If you tend to run on the road try to run towards the middle, as roads are crowned. Running on the sides of the road will lead to more strain on your ankle/knee joints and muscles due to the uneven surfaces. Over time this develops into improper biomechanics and injury.
Resting between activities is another key to avoiding shin splints or other injuries. Ideally you should take a day or two off between exercising the same region of the body, or between stints of cross training. It allows the body more time to heal itself and improve the areas that were previously trained.
Following these simple rules and listening to your body are the best ways to avoid shin splints. When pain is present the body is trying to say something, so listen to it.
Circle City Chiropractic
Indianapolis, IN 46250