How to Prevent Shin Splints: Important Strategies You Should Remember

Resting Runner

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  • Preventing shin splints from happening is possible, and there are certain steps you can take to help lower your risk of developing them again
  • Rest is essential when treating shin splints, but it’s also crucial in preventing the condition

Preventing shin splints from happening is possible, and there are certain steps you can take to help lower your risk of developing them again. The following strategies can help you achieve this goal.

Increase Your Distance Slowly

If you’re an aspiring runner with very little experience, it’s bad practice to try and run as far as you can go. That’s because your legs are not used to running long distances, and the impact can place lots of stress on your shins. Instead of pushing yourself every time you run, try to increase the distance in small increments so your legs can adjust. It’s recommended that you increase your mileage by 10 percent each week to help your legs improve slowly.1

Don’t Forget About Rest

Rest is essential when treating shin splints, but it’s also crucial in preventing the condition. As a beginner, you may be tempted to run every single day to push yourself with very little regard to rest and recovery. This is not recommended, because resting allows your muscles, bones and joints to recover, making them stronger on your next session.

Your Form Is Important

You may love running, but if you’re not doing it correctly, it will damage your shins eventually. Bad form, such as landing on your heel first (also known as heel strike) causes overstriding, which stretches the shin muscles and forces them to work harder. On the other hand, landing on your toes first can injure your calf muscles in the back of the leg.2

To fix your stride, it’s recommended that you practice landing your weight on the middle portion of your foot, instead of your toes or heels. This helps distribute your body’s weight on the leg equally every time your foot hits the ground, and keeps your forward momentum consistent. It also makes your running more comfortable and less prone to developing pain, allowing you to increase your distance. You can enlist the help of an experienced runner to analyze your technique so you can make the necessary improvements.3

Use Supportive Shoes, or Change Your Old Ones

Aside from the way you run, the shoes you use can play a big role in developing shin splints. If your favorite pair has logged a distance of around 300 miles, it’s recommended that you replace them right away. Old, worn shoes can lead you to develop bad running posture, increasing your chances of developing shin splints in the future.4

Cross-Training Can Help Relieve Stress From Your Legs

If you’re currently healing from shin splints but would still like to be physically active, consider taking up other activities besides running. Hobbies such as cycling and swimming are low-impact exercises that allow you to have a good workout without straining your legs. You may also do aqua jogging to mimic running on roads without worrying about pain.5

Vary the Surface From Time to Time

If you’ve been running on hard surfaces for a long time, the impact may have already affected your bones, joints and muscles. If you’re passionate about running, it’s recommended that you vary the surface you run on from time to time to help reduce the impact absorbed by your legs. Dirt trails are a great alternative to concrete surfaces.6

MORE ABOUT SHIN SPLINTS

Shin Splints: Introduction

What Are Shin Splints?

Shin Splints Symptoms

Shin Splints Causes

Get Rid of Shin Splints

Types of Shin Splints

Shin Splints Treatment

Shin Splints Exercises

Shin Splints Prevention

Shin Splints Diet

Shin Splints FAQ

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