How to deal with shin splints while running

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Shin splints are one of the most common injuries that runners and athletes encounter. The Shin pain starts from the front side of the Shin bone and leads to the back side of the Shin.

Either you a runner or the person who loves jogging around the neighborhood, if you are experiencing Shin pain then we can imagine how worse it can be.  If you really look forward to keep on enjoying your running then Running shoes for shin Splints is one of the best options.

Shin splint is a pain that emerges from the lower leg the Shin bone, and not only runners or athletes but even dancers can face this pain. 

What causes Shin Splints?

There are number of factors that can cause Shin splints and some of them are mentioned below.

  • Running on inclined or hard surfaces can add to the strain on your legs.
  • Not using the right technique while running makes your leg muscles work harder to keep the foot stabilized. 
  • For the beginner runners Shin splint can be a problem because they try to build up their mileage too soon.

How are Shin splints diagnosed?

Diagnosing Shin splints can be a bit difficult because many times people misunderstand Shin split with plantar fasciitis.  Here is the list of the shin splint symptoms.

  • Your Tibia bone can be in pain
  • Lower legs swelling
  • Bumps along the Shin bones  ( chronic cases) 
  • Red patches around the painful areas ( severe cases)

Can I run if I have Shin splints?

This is a very technical question and the answer to this is yes you can run, but you should not. Many runners try to continue running with this issue and think that this pain will go away with time but actually this is absolutely wrong. They are just prolonging their injury by not giving proper time to their tissues to heal. And the worst part is your tribial stress fracture gets developed if this injury is not given proper time to heal.

But if you still want to continue running then best this to wrap your leg before you go. 

  • Use an Ace bandage or tape and wrap your leg from above the ankle to below-the-knee until the pain goes away. 
  • You can also try keeping your feet dip in warm water for some time until you feel your pain going away. Warm water will help your muscles and tissues in relaxing.
  • You can apply cold ice bags to the area of the pain especially if there is swelling or redness around the affected area.
  • You can use deep Cup covers.  These are specially made for the heels of the people suffering from Shin splints. They are cushioned with gel and provide Arch and support to the heel. Thus when you run or walk they give balance to the foot.  You can wear them with the help of socks to keep them stable.
  • You can try using some painkiller muscle relaxants while you go for running. They can also help you in the pain when you run.

How to return to running after Shin splints?

Once you are done with your Shin splints or face mild Shin pain, you can start running back.  Here are some tips that can help you in returning back to running after Shin splints.

  • Cross exercises:

You can try some other exercise for example swimming or riding a bike until you get rid of Shin splint. You can also try stretches for shin.

  • Proper shoes

Before starting your running check your current running shoes, if they are right Running shoes for shin Splints. Shoe plays a vital role for the runners with Shin if you are using correct running shoes. For example, you may need Motion Control shoes, high arch shoes, supportive shoes, or shoes with strong ankles

If you have flat feet then you should definitely check your current shoes.

  • Increase mileage slowly

Once you start running again don’t increase mileage soon.  You can start increasing your mileage slowly for example 5 to 10 percent weekly.

  • Hard and inclined surfaces

In the start you can reintroduce the Hills and hard surfaces until Shin splints are completely vanished. Because hard surfaces and incline surfaces can be a risk for shin splints and you may not want to go through this pain again.

  • Stretches for shin

If you feel you can again get shin splints, or shin injury then try stretches for shin muscles. Keep stretching your Calves regularly.

How to Deal with Shin Splints

It is not a good idea to continue running while suffering from shin splints. Continuing the painful exercise that caused the shin splints will only result in further pain and damage, which could lead to stress fractures if it is done for an extended period.

You ought to cut back on the amount of running that you do for a while, or at the very least, lower the intensity of your workouts. If you are set on continuing your training despite the pain, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the intensity of the pain and prevent any further damage from occurring.

1. Take a rest

Unfortunately, continuing to stress the inflamed tissue will only serve to make the situation even more serious. If your shins are hurting, apply ice to them for 15 minutes, at least twice a day, and take a break from activities that involve running or jumping for a while.

2. Stretch the calf musculature

You should perform deep calf stretches every day, which can be done by hanging your heel off of a step or performing a lunge stretch for a couple of rounds with the knee bent and a couple of rounds with the knee straight. You should do these stretches for a total of four rounds each day. Different muscles are targeted when the knee is bent or straightened, so it is important to perform both types of knee stretches and to hold each one for at least 30 seconds.

3. Strengthen the calf musculature 

Try some heel raises with an eccentric motion. You might want to give the “two up, one down” strategy a shot. While you are standing on a step (hold onto something for balance), raise both of your toes until you are standing on your tiptoes, and then slowly lower yourself down using the side of your foot that is injured. Therefore, rise onto both of your toes, step back one foot while remaining on your toes, and then lower yourself down onto just one side. Perform this movement for a total of two to three sets of ten. Be sure that you are going down in a measured and controlled manner.

4. Modify

Have you been using the same pair of shoes for your running? It’s possible that the sneakers you have aren’t the best fit for you. Alternatively, it’s possible that they just need to be replaced. Consider switching to a sneaker that offers more support. Or perhaps you run almost exclusively on asphalt or another hard surface. Check to see if you can replace the concrete with a more forgiving surface, such as dirt or grass, for your runs. Last but not least, increase or decrease the distance that you run and make sure to stretch both before and after every run.

5. Wrapping

Before you start running, you should wrap your injured leg in a bandage or tape. Wrap the leg in a continuous spiral beginning just above the ankle and ending just below the knee. Always remember to do this before you head out for a run. Wrapping the affected leg will help reduce the pain over time, but you shouldn’t expect complete relief from shin splint pain for at least six weeks after the injury has occurred. Although wrapping your leg can help absorb some of the stress caused by running, it is in no way a cure.

6. Cross Training

While you are waiting for your shin splints to heal, you should think about doing cross-training. Your shin will be able to heal more quickly and with fewer complications if you engage in activities such as swimming, biking, or pool aerobics that place less stress on the lower leg.

7. Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation

Following these instructions will help you avoid further injury to your shins. Get as much rest as you possibly can. Applying ice to the area can help reduce any swelling. As was mentioned earlier, you should try to elevate your head as much as you can while also compressing (wrapping) your neck as much as you can. For instance, if you are watching television or using a laptop, you should try to keep your head elevated.

How to Prevent Shin Splints From Re-Occurring

1. Build up the strength of your kinetic chain.

Your entire body, from your neck to your toes, is one big interconnected chain that makes up your kinetic chain. This includes all of your muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and so on. Because the performance of one part of the body depends on the performance of the other parts of the body around it, conditioning the entire body is essential for reducing the likelihood of suffering an injury.

However, one area that you should concentrate on is your hips and core, as a lack of strength in either of these areas is linked not only with shin splints but also with a large number of other common injuries. If your core is weak, which includes your hips, your pelvis is unstable, and other muscles have to compensate to keep your hips level. This can put excess strain on your shins and knees. Your core includes your hips.

Two times per week, you should perform strength training, and your routine should include exercises such as clamshells, glute bridges, side planks, reverse crunches, and single-leg squats.

2. Change your shoes

Checking your shoes is also important because wearing shoes that aren’t appropriate can be an underlying cause in itself. It is in your best interest to have a specialist at a reputable running store evaluate your gait so that they can determine whether or not the shoes you are wearing are appropriate for you. You might benefit from wearing shoes that prevent excessive pronation, or you could try orthotics that provide at least some arch support.

3. Always remember the 10% Rule.

Whether you are building up your endurance or returning from an injury, you should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent. Allow your body some time to adjust before you continue.

4. Increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.

This will assist in increasing the bone density that you have. Try increasing your daily calcium intake to 1,300 milligrams and your vitamin D intake to 400 micrograms. Consuming more dairy products like milk and yogurt is an easy way to get this without having to resort to taking a supplement.

5. Reduce the length of your running stride.

If you have a habit of overstriding, it can cause your body to be subjected to unnecessary forces. Because of this, slightly shortening it while simultaneously increasing the cadence of your foot strikes may help you generate better stride mechanics. This is because you will be placing a significantly reduced amount of load on your feet, shins, and knees. Count the number of times you strike the ground with one foot while standing on one leg for a minute; a good number to shoot for is 85 to 90 times per minute.

Conclusion

Shin splints are very painful if not taken care of properly. It is suggested not to run in this scenario. But if running is necessary then precautions must be taken. Wearing the right running shoes helps a lot in managing Shin splints. For example, using deep cups, high-arch shoes, muscle relaxants, etc. can be helpful. But before you purchase running shoes, read the running shoes history first to be properly guided.

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