With November in our rearview mirror, we are flying towards the holiday season and New Year. This means winter is upon us! Now, some runners might put their training program on hold during our coldest months, but many of you will brave low temperatures to keep up with your favorite habit. When you do, you will surely want to follow the right steps to prevent shin splints from developing.
Shin splints are quite common. This general term refers to inflammation of posterior or anterior tendons and muscles in the lower leg. In most cases, the problem specifically affects the soft tissues flanking the tibia (shin bone). The condition normally causes sharp pain and can take you away from your running program for some time.
The good news about shin splints is that they are preventable! These following tips will help you to prevent shin splints from developing in the first place:
- Ease into running. Too often, shin splints happen to new runners who are simply trying to do too much too soon. If you are new to running or are going to make drastic changes to the intensity or duration of your sessions, ramp it up slowly. Most new runners will benefit from starting with a walk/run mix, and then gradually reducing the amount of walking. This enables the body to adjust to the new activity.
- Cross-train. Running is a high-impact activity that places a lot of stress on your lower limbs. You can take away some of the physical forces by performing a low-impact activity a couple of days during the week (in place of running). Swimming, cycling, and yoga are all great options!
- Wear proper footwear. Make sure you have running shoes that are supportive and well-cushioned. When the shoes wear down—as they do over time—don’t cling to them. Instead, pick up a new pair from your favorite running store.
- Use a midfoot strike. Runners who either strike heavy with the back or front of the foot have an increased risk factor of developing shin splints.
- Shorten your stride. In some cases, the injury develops in response to excessively long strides. This is especially important during the first couple of weeks of getting back into the sport after an extended time away.
This common sports injury can keep you off the running trails and track, but following these steps will help you prevent shin splints from developing. If you need more information on preventing running injuries or require treatment following an injury, contact Advanced Foot and Ankle. Call (208) 731-6321 to reach our Twin Falls office or (208) 312-4646 to reach our Burley office today!