Shin splints are not only relegated to athletes; non-athletes and those who live a sedentary lifestyle can also suffer from shin splints. One of the most common causes of shin splints, in both athletes and non-athletes, are biomechanical inefficiencies. In other words, they walk/run incorrectly or wear incorrect footwear. Proper shin splint prevention begins with a close check of your shoes.
Footwear: Your feet bear the weight of your body and a lot of force is absorbed in the lower leg. To prevent shin splints, a visit to the podiatrist for a foot strike, or gait analysis, is the best place to start.
A qualified podiatrist will be able to help you select footwear that is more accommodating to your particular stride. Do not skim on footwear; spending money now on good quality shoes, which are specifically designed for your foot type, is considerably cheaper than expensive treatments later.
After good footwear, preventing shin splints is a simple three step process. First, warm-up before any strenuous activity such as running or exercising; second, stretch your calves and lower legs regularly; third, strengthen your leg muscles like you do the rest of your body.
One more thing; be kind to yourself. Give your body the rest it needs to recover and adapt to the training you’re doing. Trying to run-through shin splints or push through the pain is a sure-fire recipe for a long term battle with shin splints. Only increase your running mileage and/or intensity gradually and avoid overtraining by listening to your body and giving it the rest it needs.
To learn more about how to prevent shin splints and shin splint pain, visit our comprehensive shin splints article for additional information on the points covered in this blog post.
Also, keep an eye-out for my next installment on treating shin splints due out next month. Until then, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach