Do you experience shin pain while running? Which usually feels like sharp needles poking you, and then sometimes feels better after a few minutes of walking? Yeah, that’s shin splints. And it’s surprisingly common among runners. No matter how minimal the pain is for you, it does not sound pleasant at all! So what are some reasons for shin pain while running and what to do about it?
Well for starters, your body could be telling you something’s not right with the way you’re running. The most important point to remember is that shin splints are not as simple as they look, or as you may readily assume.
Shin splints can be a result of different things like over-striding (not loading your knee properly), a sudden change in terrain, lack of training, running on hard surfaces too much, or wearing the wrong shoes for your foot shape.
These conditions tend to occur more often when you’re just starting out so it’s important to take note of them if you’ve never had shin pain before.
What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are common injuries if you’re running. The term is derived from the shin bone being referred to as “shin”, and your ‘splints’ being made up of muscles around the bone that are strained due to overuse.
Shin splints occur when muscles and ligaments around the shin bone become inflamed, often because of repetitive stress on the lower leg causing those tissues to fatigue.
The most common symptoms are a dull ache or pain in the front of your lower leg. Also, you may feel a sharp painful area around your shin bone that sometimes feels better after you walk around
Common Reasons for Shin Pain While Running
Shins are very sensitive to the impact of running and other impact-based workouts. This is because the shin bone absorbs some of that energy. The muscles around it can also give shin pain.
Most shin splints are caused by the strain of running. Weak muscles usually get tight, and when they get tight, it causes pain. Some sports that cause this kind of shin pain are soccer, tennis, basketball, track, long-distance running, and cross country skiing.
Whatever exercise you do, it’s important to warm up first. When you slow down your pace or take a break from running altogether then warming up is important for getting blood flow back into different muscle groups of your legs.
Another cause of shin splints is simple biomechanics. So if you run with your feet pointing outwards, you are more likely to get shin splints than those runners who run with their feet pointed forwards.
If you run with your feet too far away from each other, it puts more pressure on the muscles and bones in your legs. If you have a certain body structure that makes running painful, as this article explains, a lot of people are not athletic enough to run or they simply do not want to put in the effort.
Putting Too Much Stress
When you put too much stress on your body and it does not bounce back the way you want it to, this can lead to shin or any other kind of injury. The best way to avoid shin splints is to be smart about your running, know your limits and listen to your body.
Pain in the shins due to running is most commonly caused by overuse. Prolonged stress can build up in muscles that have been worked on before.
What To Do About Shin Pain While Running?
1) Rest Well
It is essential that you give your shins time to heal between runs. Give yourself two weeks, and do not run again until the pain goes away. If the pain doesn’t go away after two weeks, do not run at all.
2) Ice and Compress
You can use ice or cold compresses on your shin splints in order to help them get better faster. Place ice cubes or a wet cloth on the affected area for about five minutes, repeating every half hour until you feel better. To prevent shin splints from happening in the first place, pay attention to how you are training so that you don’t overload your shins with too much weight and strain the muscles which then leads to shin pain.
3) Change Your Running Shoes
If you are experiencing shin pain while running, it can often be a sign that you are wearing the wrong type of shoe. If you’re running in something that is putting too much weight on your lower leg bones, and not enough on your upper legs (hip bone) you might get shin splints.
Even if you feel fine when running, the wrong shoes can cause pressure on your shins and lead to shin splints. When choosing new running shoes for your feet, make sure the soles of them are good enough to provide excellent cushioning and allow for good lateral support.
Be sure to check the article below to find awesome running shoes for kids:
17 Best Running Shoes for Kids That They Will Love
4) Train Your Calf Muscles
The calf muscles can be trained to help relieve shin splints. To do this, hold a free weight in your hands and stand erect on one leg, making sure your calf is fully stretched. Then stand on your tiptoes. Hold for about five seconds and then release for five seconds. Repeat a few times until you have worked all of your calf muscles.
5) Be Sure You Are Running Correctly
There are many things you can do to help yourself avoid shin splints. The following are ways to help ensure that you are running correctly.
- Keep your knees and ankles at the same level of height when running. Over-striding is a common cause of shin splints and can lead to knee, ankle and hip pain as well as lower back pain. Try shortening your stride length a bit until your knees remain at the same height above the ground as your ankles.
- Try to keep your feet pointing in the direction you are running as much as possible when running on flat or uneven surfaces. Set up a flat area at home to do interval training where you can run on the treadmill or make use of stairs. This will help you develop foot strength and hamstring flexibility.
- Choose shoes that fit well and have proper cushioning. If your shoes are too stiff or tight, they can lead to shin splints by putting too much stress on your lower leg bones, as well as your hips and knees.
- Just because you’re running doesn’t mean that you should be training hard all the time! Rest adequately so that your muscles don’t become exhausted and give out before they are ready to fully heal.
Now you know more about shin splints and how to get rid of them. Give yourself plenty of time to rest, perhaps a week before you resume running.
When you do run, stick with low-impact workouts for a while and avoid hills or other terrains that cause pain in your shins.
To conclude it all up, shin splints may be treatable but they can cause you to change or even give up running altogether if not taken care of properly. Also, make sure your shoes are good enough to provide excellent cushioning and allow for good lateral support. Especially if you are running on difficult terrain, be sure to check the article below:
15 Superior Quality Trail Running Shoes for Women
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