A lot of people, especially runners, often ask for guides on how to prevent shin splints. As common as it is, people do not really seem to know how to address it until it’s too late. They end up looking for shin splints treatment instead of simple prevention. Here we have the 7 quickest and most effective ways to prevent shin splints.
How To Prevent Shin Splints In 7 Easy Steps
Step 1: Have Your Gait Checked
The first step in knowing how to prevent shin splints is knowing your gait. Shin splints are often associated with 2 common biomechanical problems called overpronation and underpronation.
When people with overpronation walk or run, they feel the outer edges of their heels landing first before the foot rolls inwards into the arch. On the other hand, underpronation, otherwise known as supination, causes the foot to roll outwards when landing.
Both of the said conditions put a lot of torque on the lower leg, causing trauma to the connective muscle tissue surrounding the tibia. This trauma is what causes that sharp pain between the knees and the ankles.
Therein comes the importance of gait analysis which can go a long way in shin splint prevention. Luckily, a lot of shoe stores these days offer it for free. Sports medicine physicians and orthopedic doctors can easily diagnose gait issues, too.
Step 2: Get Running Shoes That Are Right For You
Motion control shoes, also called stability shoes are best for those with gait abnormalities. Shoemakers typically fit these shoes with memory foam technology, built-in stability, or orthotics. Shoes like such help prevent shin splints as they reduce the rolling motions of the feet when landing.
Orthotics are the cheapest options. These are foot pads or heel inserts that are specially designed to correct problems with walking, running, and standing.
Step 3: Replace Old Running Shoes
Shoemakers nowadays make built-to-last shoes. All the same, it is still important to replace these shoes every so often.
Just like all material things, your shoes undergo wear and tear. Over time they lose the technology they had when they were first bought. Typically, you can only use shoes at up to 300-400 miles. Afterward, the performance and comfort start to deteriorate. Especially important, though is the cushioning. If left unchecked, this may eventually lead to injuries that could be worse than shin splints.
Step 4: Master Your Form
Now that you have the right shoes, you have to have the right form. Most important to shin splints is the way you use your lower body to run. There is the tendency to land with heels first when running. This heavily impacts the shin muscles, stretching and forcing them to work extra hard to maintain stability. The same goes with landing on the balls of the feet and immediately propelling with the toes — it stresses the calf muscles.
Runners are the most common victims of shin splints due to misinformation about the proper running form. Running is not just simply about lacing up and going as fast as you can. It needs relaxed shoulders, an upright posture, a straight head, and tucked elbows with hands out front.
- Land flat on mid-foot.
- Roll foot forward.
- Propel with the balls of the feet.
- Take short strides.
This can be practiced by doing exercises like side shuffles, backward running, high knees, and butt kicks.
Step 5: Train Progressively
Shin splints are considered “overuse injuries” or those that result from repetitive trauma. Repetitive stress and continuous use of muscles, ligaments, bones, or tendons without rest typically cause overuse injuries. Some common examples of these are tendinitis, stress fractures, and shin splints.
To prevent overuse, it is important to go through proper body conditioning before training and exercise.
Step 6: Develop Lower Body Strength
Conditioning your body goes beyond developing the endurance to run or walk at length. It also involves developing strength that will help:
- prevent shin splints
- carry body weight
- propel you forward faster and with more ease when running
- tone legs
Train your legs by doing lower body exercises such as squats, calf raises, bridges, and stair climber.
Step 7: Stretch And Rest
As previously mentioned, shin splints is an overuse injury. You may be equipped with the right shoes, the proper form, and the proper training, but you still need to learn to listen to your body. Give the injury enough time to rest and recover.
After a long workout, make sure to stretch your muscles especially those that were engaged in the exercises. This helps keep the blood flowing and the muscles loose.
Wondering how to cure shin splints if you have already gotten them? Austin Dunham shows you how to cure shin splints fast:
Shin splints can be very bothersome to have. Not only do they keep you from the gym for weeks, they can also stop you from doing simple everyday tasks. That is why knowing how to prevent shin splints from happening in the first place is the best way to deal with them. Proper equipment, training, and rest should ensure that you do not suffer from this injury.
Do you have other tips for preventing shin splints? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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