11 Ways to Manage, Treat and Prevent Shin Splints in Runners

Manage-Treat -Prevent-Shin-Splints-Runners

In the previous article on shin splints we discussed what shin splints are and the causes of shin splints. Check out that article first and then come back to this one (links open in a new window)

By now you should have a good idea of what causes shin splints, and that they actually are. With any injury it’s best to see a specialist, such as a physio but it is also important to stay informed by yourself, so you reduce the risk of shin splints and other running related injuries.

 

TREATING SHIN SPLINTS

We will focus mostly on how to prevent shin splints in this article but let’s get the treating out of the way first. Once you’ve got the injury you have to manage it properly so you can get back into training as soon as possible. NHS has a simple, yet effective, guide to treat shin splints at home:

1. Rest

Rest is first in the RICE approach. Rest and recover throughout before going back to training. To keep your fitness levels up try swimming, cycling and keep up with your strength training.

I believe injuries give you the time to work on your technique and other weaknesses in your body. You may actually come back stronger. Don’t let injuries bring you down, they can be an opportunity.

If you can run for a few hundred metres without any pain, with your physio’s advice, you can actually work on refining your running technique. One of the reasons of shin splints and many other injuries is actually the way we run. So, when injured, if possible, use this time to document yourself and practice a bit of the running elements. You’ll find all the running information you need on this website, through articles and videos.

To document yourself read articles such as this one or read books such as POSE Method of Running and Natural Running. These are 2 excellent books to start learning about running technique and body mechanics and understanding what causes your running injuries.

2. Ice

Ice is the second in the RICE approach. Ice helps to reduce the inflammation. When there’s inflammation ice is probably a good idea.

3. Switch to low impact activities

Reduce your training load, but if this is still painful continue training by cycling or swimming, rock climbing or anything else that takes the load and impact off your legs.

4. Pain relief

NHS recommends over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to help relieve the pain, if you need to. This wouldn’t personally be an option to me, but it’s an option nonetheless.

 

PREVENTING SHIN SPLINTS

It’s great to know how to treat shin splints once it hits you, but if you go back and do the same things that caused the injury in the first place you’ll be back to square one. The idea is to prevent, rather than treat. This is what we will be talking about now.

Let’s see how we can prevent shin splints from happening in the first place, or at least reduce the risk or the severity of the injury if it does happen.

 

5. Gradual progress

Because one of the main causes of shin splints (as explained in the previous article), especially for beginner runners, comes down to increasing mileage too much too soon, I think this should be our first point of discussion.

As a beginner, your muscles, tissues and bones haven’t had the time to adapt to the stresses of running.

Existing bone tissue is broken down and a denser, stronger bone tissue is formed. This is the work of osteoclasts and osteoblasts respectively.

However the bone must first be weakened, as it happens when osteoclasts break it down, before it can be strengthened, built back up. This process takes a bit of time and if you increase your mileage too much too soon there isn’t enough time for the whole process to take place.

The bone keeps breaking down at a higher rate than it is built back up and, because the bone formation can’t keep up, small bone fissures develop. These small fissures on the bone can eventually lead to stress fractures.

As a general rule try to increase your training load by no more than 10%, even less if you feel any pain. You must be sensible about this if you want to continue training and not spend a few months swimming instead of running.

Review your running and training schedule and ensure it’s not overloading your body.

6. Revise your running form

By now you should be familiar with my approach to running injuries. Running injuries don’t just happen, they have a cause, and most times the cause is the way we run, our running form.

Causes of shin splints related to running form were discussed in more detail in the previous article: 11 Causes Of Shin Splints In Runners. In a nutshell the main running form mistakes that cause shin splints are:

a) Landing in front or ahead of the knee joint or landing in front of the body

b) Heel striking and over striding – they come hand in hand

C) Toe landing

These are the main causes of shin splints from the running form perspective. Thus, to reduce the risk of shin splints you should consider:

 

1) Shortening your stride and landing underneath your hips.

As you run, if you look down and see your feet you are probably over striding. By landing under the hip you will neither heels strike nor landing on your toes.

Manage-Treat- Prevent-Shin-Splints-RunnersFig1. Landing under body

 

2) Transitioning to a softer, more controlled foot strike: midfoot strike.

This should happen automatically once you’ve shortened your stride and land under your hips. You should think more of point 1. and let this bit to come naturally. It’s impossible to land on your heels if you land under the body. It is possible to land on your toes though. The aim is to land with the middle of the foot and allow the heel to lightly “kiss” the ground softly.

 

3) Pulling the back foot under your body as opposed to pushing off with your back let to move your body forwards.

This “push off” is the power running style we discussed in the previous article. This aggressive style of running leads to “pounding the ground”, dropping the body weight heavily on the front foot and causing a lot of injuries, including knee injuries and injuries to the Achilles tendon.

If you ask me the power running trend should be exterminated.

 

Check out our article on running technique elements which are accompanied by videos for a more detailed explanation of the lighter running form.

There are many drills aimed at helping you shorten your strides. Running drills, which you can also use for warm up, are one simple way to train your body when you’re by yourself. Try using the following exercises:

  • butt kicks
  • high knees
  • running backwards
  • side shuffles

Simple.

Of course you can do all this and still not achieve the desired result. An exercise we perform regularly with our runners is pulling the ankle under the hip from a standing position. It’s straight forward:

1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and imagine a straight line going from the side of your ankles up under the hip (not from the heel, but from the ankles, and not under the buttocks, under the hip, that’s slightly forward of the buttocks)

2. Lift your left ankle straight under your hip. Straight up, not forward, not backwards. You will notice the left knee moves forwards (not up). If you can’t see your knee, it’s too far back. As you lift the ankle under your hip let the knee move forward, like horses does with their front legs.  A check point is to roughly align the left ankle with the back of the right knee. This will prevent you from kicking the ankle behind you.

3. Repeat this drill from a standing position for as long as you need to on both sides, then try running a few hundred meters while focusing on pulling the ankle under the hip one at a time.

 

To make it even better, as you stand and perform the drill, bend your knees and shift you body weight slightly over the balls of your feet, with the heels slightly touching the ground. This is your Pose stance, and the stance you should find yourself in while running.

You can find more drills in the POSE Method Of Running  book.

 

7. Run barefoot

Naturally people will land mid foot when barefoot. You don’t have to run barefoot all the time, just 30 sec here and there where it’s safe and you don’t have to worry about sharp objects.

I sometimes do this with my clients and they immediately realise how heavy they actually land and run. Within minutes their running form changes for the better. It becomes more controlled as their strides shorten and they begin landing under the body with a nice, soft mid foot strike. When they put the shoes back on they maintain that feeling.

There is some research that suggest that barefoot running, or barefoot running style, spreads out impact stresses among muscles, so that no area is overloaded. But more research is needed to decide whether barefoot or minimalist running actually reduces the risk of injuries. There are some debates on this topic.

However, if you do intend to try minimalist running, as with any change in your training regime, it should be gradual, whether you choose to go barefoot or use minimalist shoes.

 

8. Strenthen tibilias anterior

The tibialis anterior muscles are positioned on the front side of the lower leg. If you sit and pull your toes towards your head you can feel and see those muscles contacting.

The tibialis anterior muscles are responsible for flexing the foot upwards and, because they are usually underdeveloped in non-runners, may contribute to shin splints if they’re weak.

A simple exercise to begin strengthening the tibialis anterior is toe raises.

a) You can be sitting upright with your legs stretched out in from of you, or even sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.

b) Extend or point your toes as far as you can and then pull them and the foot up towards your shin. Hold for a few seconds, feel the muscles working.

c) Release and bring your toes to the starting position.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side

 

9. Stretch and strenghten tibialis posterior

The first thing to do when you suffer an injury is to check with a specialist. In the meantime it’s also good to have a bit of knowledge yourself. This is what these articles are for. They inform you about the causes of injuries so you spend less time and money on physios and more time training, running and crossing finish lines.

The tibialis posterior tightens because it might be weak in the first place. To have something to stretch you first have to strengthen.

As we discussed in our previous article, one of the causes of shin splints is weak calf muscles but also excessive rotations forces on the foot. Strenghtening the tibialis posterior and the calf muscle as a whole can reduce the rotational forces, which can be either oversupination or overpronation. These excessive rotational forces usually come with a heel striking gait and landing in front of the body.

The eccentric heel drop strengthens your calf. It also helps with Achilles tendonitis, two birds with one stone.

 

The tibialis posterior stretch is similar to the classic calf stretch against the wall with a little tweak, the back knee is bent.

 

10. Vary the surfaces you run on

Running on softer surfaces such as grass or dirt trails or even treadmills as opposed to concrete, may reduce the stress and impact on your muscles, joints, and bones.

 

11. Check your shoes

Worn out shoes can also lead to shin splints. As a general rule you should replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles (400-600km).

Also make sure you are wearing the correct shoes for your foot type. Speciality stores should be able to analyse your gait and advise you on shoes that support your foot properly.

 

Sources:

Sam Murphy and Sarah Connors “Running Well”
Danny Dreyer with Catherine Dreyer “Chi Running”
Nicholas Romanov “POSE Method Of Running
Nicholas Romanov with Kurt Brungardt “The Running Revolution”
Ross Rucker and Jonathan Dugas, Runner’s World “The Runner’s Body”
Danny Abshire “Natural Running”
NHS
Runner’s World
Very Well Fit
OrthoInfo
Running shoes guru

11 Causes Of Shin Splints In Runners

11-Causes-Of -Shin-Splints-In-Runners

What exactly are shin splits?

Well, apparently there’s no clear consensus among sports scientists of what shin splints actually are. It can be small tears in the muscle that’s pulled off the bone, an inflammation of the periosteum [a thin sheath of tissue that wraps around the tibia, or shin bone], an inflammation of the muscle, or a combination of them.

Collectively they are referred to as MTSS – Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome.

According to the NHS shin splints is the name for pain in the shins, or the front of the lower legs, usually caused by exercise.

In The Runner’s Body, Ross Tucker and Matt Fitzgerald define shin splints a symptom, rather than a diagnosis, of the many potential injuries of the tibia.

According to Runner’s World shin splints make up about 15 percent of running injuries. Although the numbers are from 2011 they still give us an idea of how common these injuries are nonetheless.

Shin splints are among the most common injuries. The tissues are more prone to injury in beginner runners and runners who return to running after a break because the bone and muscles are not yet conditioned. So the unconditioned or de-conditioned runners. We will talk a little bit more about this later in the article.

The most common site for shin splints is the medial area (towards the inside of the shin) – medial shin splints. Overpronation is a common cause of medial shin splints.

Anterior shin splints (toward the outside of the leg) usually result from an imbalance between the calf muscles in the back and the muscles in the front of your leg. The anterior shin splints often affect beginners who either have not yet adjusted to the stresses of running or are not stretching enough.

The anterior shin splints may also be compartment syndrome and nothing to do with the bone, which we will talk about later in the article. Pain around the shin can also be a sign of a stress fracture.

But let’s go through the causes of shin splints to get a better understanding of why they happen and what actually happens.

 

Causes of shin splints in runners

 

1. Progressing or upgrading your training too fast, too soon

A progression of your training programme above the level you are currently at that’s too fast or too much can put your body under too much strain all of a sudden.

Whether you are a runner or not, bone tissue continuously breaks down and is being rebuilt, that’s how bones work. When you begin a running programme this process accelerates due to the repeated impact. Now, that’s a good thing. Impact exercise does build stronger bones, when done properly (this doesn’t apply to people who have health conditions or certain injuries though, one must assess very well whether impact training if for them).

The good news is that the existing bone tissue is broken down and a denser, stronger bone tissue is formed. This is the work of osteoclasts (breaks down bone tissue) and osteoblasts (makes bone tissue).

The bad news is that the bone must first be weakened before it can be strengthened. Runners who do too much, too soon, increasing their mileage too quickly or jumping into long mileage from the beginning, develop small bone fissures that cause pain. If the pain is not managed properly and on time, once the small fissures pass a certain point a stress fracture may result.

In the 2nd article on shin splints I will come back with ways to train through the shin splints (if possible) and/or how to best manage and home treat them so you can get back to training.

 

 Running form

Danny Dreyer, author of Chi Running, attributes “almost all running injuries to the current running paradigm of running, which [he] calls power running”.

Other well knows running coaches and authors share his view, such as Nicholas Romanov author of The Pose Method Of Running, and Danny Abshire author of Natural Running.

You can and should take time off to recover from shin splints, then strengthening and stretching. However, if you’re using the same running form that created the injury in the first place, that muscle will eventually tire, and you’ll end up with the same injury again and again. The way to heal any injury, after you recover of course, is to address the cause(s) that result(s) the symptoms. That cause might be hidden in your running form.

Danny Abshire talks about impact and rotational forces which cause shin splints as well as many other injuries. This too is associated with power running. We will talk about this later in the article.

And since we’re talking about power running, Malcolm Malk, author of the Art Of Running and Alexander Technique practitioner, also advocates a lighter running style, stating that “runners who pound the ground often end up injured”. In the list of do’s and don’ts Malk points out not to push the body up or push off with the feet. This is power running in a nutshell: pushing off and pounding the ground.

Running form may be the cause, but how do we know what aspect of the running form causes shin splints? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. The running form aspects that can cause shin splints are:

  1. Landing ahead of the body
  2. Heel striking and over striding
  3. Landing on the toes

 

2. Landing in front or ahead of the knee joint or landing in front of the body

This is a major running technique mistake identified in The POSE Method of Running and mentioned again in Nicholas Romanov’s Running Revolution as well as in other speciality books.

Landing ahead of the body causes the lower leg to land at an angle to the ground instead of perpendicular (which it would if the foot would land under the body or under the hip). Landing at an angle also causes stress fractures and compartment syndrome (which is the tightening of the muscles in the front of the shins).

How do you know it’s compartment syndrome or bone related pain? If it’s bone related you would feel pain when you push on the bone, the shin bone becomes sensitive to touch. If the pain feels more like tightness, which usually comes up while running and when you don’t run you are ok, it’s probably muscle related. This is a general guide so it’s good to check with a therapist or GP to get a diagnosis.

Landing ahead of the body, at an angle to the ground, creates a shearing effect on the shaft of the tibia bone when load is applied. Your joints aren’t designed to accept and hold (the load), but rather to accept and unload, so they get damaged in the process.

When we land ahead of the body we have to wait with the support foot on the ground until the upper body and GCM (general centre of mass) pass over the support leg. You may think it’s fast, but not for your support leg which needs to wait and hold the load until it’s able to unload. When you land straight under the body, your GCM is already over the support leg so there is much less waiting, you can unload almost straight away.

Furthermore, landing ahead of the body, known as active landing, also results in increased impact during landing, compared to landing under the body. This impact produces a shaking effect through the bone and muscles and leads to a separation of the periosteum tissues (a dense fibrous membrane covering the surfaces of bone) from the bone.

Some runners do have stride mechanisms that expose their legs to higher impact forces and a higher risk of developing tibial stress fractures.

 

What to do?

Consider shortening your stride to reduce the severity of impact.

Instead of placing your foot in front of your body try landing under the body or under the hips, which is the same thing. Shortening the stride will allow you to land under the body/hips.

From my work with runners I noticed that when they try to shorten the stride they shorten it so little that it makes no real difference. They don’t know the feeling of a shorter stride.

The feeling you are looking for is as if you are running on the spot. Exaggerate in your running technique drills, shortening your stride to half your normal length. After a few weeks or exaggerating the drill, relax your stride and it should be just right.

We will talk more in depth about this, and I will share some pictures and videos in the next article on how to manage and home treat shin splints.

 

How to check whether you’re landing ahead of the body if there is no one to watch you

If you have a friend or a coach who can look at you while you run it’s great. But what if you are alone and you don’t know the feeling yet? How do you check?

When you run, and if it’s safe for you to do this, use your peripheral vision and see whether you can see your feet when you run. Don’t bend your head or from the hips, and don’t lean forward, just take a quick peek. If you can easily see your feet, you are landing in front of your body. If you can see just a little bit of your toes you should be just about right.

 

3. Heel striking and over striding

There are three primary causes of many injuries including shin splints but also plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, iliotibial band (ITB) issues and patellofemoral pain syndrome. Those three primary causes are:

  1. impact forces from braking with a heel striking gait
  2. rotational forces from the same kind of gait
  3. the subsequent excessive force necessary to push off the ground to begin a new stride with that kind of gait

 

What is a gait?

Whether you walk, run or sprint your feet make contact with the ground in certain positions, causing the rest of the body to react and adjust to this movement. Your body continuously seeks out an ideal balance with gravity so it continuously checks and adjusts. How the feet land and their position is essentially the gait.

Whether you stand, walk, run or sprint the feet and brain are constantly talking to each other. The feet send signals to the brain and the brain repositions the rest of the body accordingly so you don’t fall over.

There are 3 types of gaits. We won’t go into a lot of detail now but these are: the walking gait (heel strike), the running gait (midfoot strike) and the sprinting gate (toe strike).

 

Landing and take off

Let’s think of running as formed of two phases: land and push off (or propulsion). The running movement is more complex that that but it helps get the point across if we simplify it to these 2 phases.

We will later learn that push off should be a pull and not a push, but for the sake of understanding the breaking and propulsion actions let’s think of running as landing and pushing off.

The muscles on the front of the leg are considered breaking muscles (tibialis anterior, quadriceps), the ones on the back of the leg are propulsive muscles (hamstrings, calves).

Your tibial muscles are on the front, so when you repetitively and continuously “break” or interrupt your running momentum by landing ahead of the body (over striding), and heel striking (the landing phase) you absorb too much impact. After landing you then use too much muscle power to maintain forward momentum (the propulsion phase).

Rotational forces and breaking impact increase when over striding and heel striking and lead to overuse injuries.

Excessive propulsion can create problems with hamstrings, Achilles tendon, and connective tissue in the lower leg, ankle and foot. When you land ahead of the body and heel strike – breaking you momentum, you automatically need to push off hard to move forward. You basically slow down and re-start with every step. There is no flow, but a constant break and re-start. It’s like a driver who hits the breaks every 10 seconds, break – accelerate – break-accelerate etc, but you do it every second. That’s what’s happening in your body at a smaller scale, whether you feel or not.

These breaking and propulsion motions create high impact, longer stride and vertical push (the bouncing feeling you get when you push off and up). When running like this you are isolating the breaking muscles on landing and isolating propulsive muscles on takeoff.

Impact forces are caused by the hard impact of a heel striking gate, while the excessive rotational forces happen at foot and ankle. As the foot and ankle rotate, the twisting motion continues up the body and results in traction forces on the sheath (periosteum) surrounding the shinbone. This cause inflammation of the sheath, which a type of shin splints as mentioned at the beginning of the article.

 

4. Toe landing

Landing on your heels is heavy, high impact and leads to injuries, but landing on your toes can also lead to injuries. I often see runners who mistake “ball of foot” or “mid foot strike” with running or landing on their toes. It should actually be somewhere in between.

Think about landing on the balls of your feet and then swiftly tap the ground with the heels. This way you don’t bounce around on your toes, nor do you hit the ground with the heels to heavily.

When your body weight is supported by your toes, the shins and calves workload increases.

When you land on your toes you probably also push off your toes in the propulsion phase, which we have already talked about in the previous section.

 

5. Inadequate muscle flexibility and mobility

Inadequate stretching leads to many injuries including anterior knee pain and Achilles tendonitis. This much is already known and everyone agrees stretching is important.

What type of stretching and when to stretch and which are the most effective stretches is a debate, but we all agree we need to stretch. I believe the debate is a debate because no runner is the same, having had the same training history and injuries, so the stretching routines will, of course vary, to a certain degree. The fundamentals are the same though.

It is more or less agreed that, for runners, static stretches at the beginning of the running session are not likely to improve performance. The runner’s muscles need to be ready to “fire up”, to rapidly stretch and contract, so a dynamic stretching routine is best at the beginning of the workout (i.e. butt kicks, high knees, side shuffles) and leave the static stretches (the ones you hold) for the end of the session.

There really is no way around it. Runners need to stretch on a regular basis, like brushing your teeth. And we also need to have the patience for it.

To land mid foot you need to be able to land with the foot roughly parallel to the ground. If your calf muscles are so tight that you cannot flex your ankle upwards to land with the foot parallel to the ground, you will either land too far up on your toes and push off hard in sprinting fashion, in the propulsion phase, straining your calf muscles and Achilles tendon, or you will use the opposite side of the leg muscles, the anterior tibialis (tibia muscle), to lift the toes and force the ankle to dorsiflex, causing shin splits.

Tightness in the calf muscles also causes the foot to overpronate which is a cause of several injuries.

 

6. Dorsiflexion

Dorsiflexion is when runners pull their toes towards their shin and the shin muscles contract. Doing this 10, 20, 30 times is fine, but doing it 10 000 times in one run, several times a week can strain the muscles and lead to pain in the lower leg.

Ensure your calf muscles are loose enough to allow you to dorsiflex. Your ankle mobility also needs to allow for dorsiflexion.

 

Testing your ankle mobility:

  1. Place the tested foot about 4 inches (10 am) from a wall.
  2. Make sure your foot is straight with toes pointed forward.
  3. Attempt to get your knee to touch the wall without lifting the heel or letting your knee move in any direction than forward.
  4. If you can touch the wall without the knee buckling in or shifting out and with the heel on the ground you have pretty good ankle mobility.
  5. Test on both ankles and mark with a couple of pieces of tape (one for the left foot, the other for the right) how far from the wall you are so you can test again after you attempt to improve ankle mobility.

 

7. Over-pronation

Over-pronation, when the foot rolls in excessively, is a common cause of shin splints (as well as knee pain). Over-pronation causes the tibia to twist and the muscles in the lower leg to overstretch. This causes inflammation of the soft tissues that attach to the tibia.

The pain is usually felt on the lower inside part of the leg, near the midpoint of the leg – medial shin splint. But the pain is not local, you may feel the pain in other parts of the leg as well.

 

8. Excessive Supination

Supination is the opposite of pronation. Supination is the foor arch is very high and you walk on the outside of the foot more or less. This is a more rigid foot and doesn’t absorb shock very well. It also transfers more of the impact up the leg causing the pain to be felt on the shin, usually on the bottom half of the shin.

 

9. Weak tibialis posterior muscle

The Tibialis Posterior supports the medial arch of the foot. It is responsible for keeping the arch of the foot when you bear weight on the foot.

When the Tibialis Posterior muscle is loaded more than it can handle, the muscle becomes tight and causes pain around the lower medial shin. In this situation we need to stretch as well as strengthen the Tibialis Posterior muscle and I will share with you some exercises to do this in the next article on shin splints.

 

10. Surface

Running too much on hard surfaces, on cambered roads or running in the same direction on the track, which places the stress on the same side and place over and over again, can also cause shin splints.

 

12. Footwear

Worn out shoes lose their support. Search for shoes that support your foot.

If you have flat feet you want shoes that control the foot motion. That is a shoe that has a rigid sole from the base of the toes to the heel, with a solid heel cup. As it acts as a brace for the foot it can help prevent pronation.

If you have a high arch, your foot is already rigid, so you are looking for shock absorption rather than motion control.

You can combine good shoes with a running techinque assessment to find out how you can tweak your form to reduce the impact force even more.

All shoes should have a flexible toe region to prevent overworking the muscles in the calf during activity and causing other types of running injuries.

 

Do any of these causes of shin splints ring the bell? Do you think any of them lead to your injuries, or maybe other reasons? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Look out for the next article on shin splints where I will share exercises and running technique elements help you to manage, treat and, preferably, prevent shin splints.

 

Sources:

  1. Sam Murphy and Sarah Connors “Running Well”
  2. Danny Dreyer with Catherine Dreyer “Chi Running”
  3. Nicholas Romanov “POSE Method Of Running”
  4. Nicholas Romanov with Kurt Brungardt “The Running Revolution”
  5. Ross Rucker and Jonathan Dugas, Runner’s World “The Runner’s Body”
  6. Danny Abshire “Natural Running”
  7. NHS
  8. Runner’s World
  9. Mayo Clinic
  10. Britannica
  11. https://www.runnersworld.com/shin-splints
  12. https://www.chirunning.com/blog/entry/the-whole-story-on-shin-splints
  13. https://entirepodiatry.com.au/information/injuries/shin-splints/
  14. https://www.runningshoesguru.com/2014/05/running-shin-pain-tibialis-posterior-stretching-strengthening/
  15. https://www.issaonline.edu/blog/index.cfm/2012/10/1/could-your-shoes-be-giving-you-shin-splints-

Factors Leading To Running Injuries – Change

Does running regularly mean you will end up having to pay physios for life? No, not necessarily. Although, like with virtually any sport, even swimming if you swim often and aim high, you will suffer some injuries. How bad, how often and for how long, now these are variables that can be changed.

Change is one of the causes of sport related injuries. And when we talk about running injuries we refer to:

– foot injuries – including plantar fasciitis
– ankle injuries
– shin splints
– knee injuries
– hip injuries
– lower back pain

These are very common injuries and pains in runners who run regularly and push themselves to make progress.

Change is one of the elements that can cause there types of running injuries. Change in terms of:

– speed
– distance
– running frequency, but also
– different shoes (watch out minimalist/barefoot runners when transitioning to minimalist shoes), and different technique
– training type – i.e. from endurance training to interval training

No matter how much you try to progress fast, you are directed by your NERVOUS SYSTM. Until the nervous system adapts to the change, any attempt to push beyond it’s adaptation time frame can lead to injuries.

Thus, my advice on any changes you wish to make:
– make change slow
– have patience
– make the correct changes
– make the changes correct
– get a coach to direct you so you do things the right way, especially if you are a beginner

Need coaching? Email support@themtechnique.com or click here to book a free consultation.

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Shin Splints – Causes And Prevention

Over the past 3 years I have coaches over 100 people. Some of them are still around. Shin splints was one of the problems some of my clients came to me with.

Shin splints is a term used to describe pain in the front of the lower legs, the shins. They are over-use injuries

 

Shin splints possible causes

  • running on hard surfaces
  • incorrect running technique
  • striking the ground aggressively constantly
  • running with the wrong or worn shoes
  • overweight
  • weak ankles
  • tight calf muscles
  • over pronation (foot rolls outwards when it lands on the ground)
  • intense periods of exercise when your body is not used to it
  • incorrect use of the body (technique when training and how you use your body daily)

 

Shin splints self care

Running or exercising through the pain can be dangerous. It may not be very painful at the beginning but it can get worse.

  • rest, take a break from the activity that causes the pain (you can still do low impact activities or cross training) – this will help you recover faster
  • stretch your muscles
  • avoid training and running on hard surfaces (I take my clients on the ground when we run and are able to)
  • build up your training gradually (throwing yourself into intense training all of a sudden is a recipe for injuries)
  • work to improve your ankles strength
  • stretch your Achilles tendon and your calves – gently
  • mobility and flexibility (essential for a fit and strong body)
  • foam rolling calves – gentle (it works for some people)
  • ice (no more than 10 min at a time and not on direct skin, 3 times a day)
  • replace worn out shoes

 

Shin splints prevention

Here are some guidelines

  • avoid running on hard surfaces all the time
  • make sure your shoes are correct for you
  • change shoes when they worn out
  • stretch Achilles tendon and calves muscles
  • stretch your whole body in fact
  • foam rolling – calves, glutes, quadricepts, hamstrings, everything, it’s good to release tension in the body
  • variation of movement – don’t stick with the same routing for months, practice different activities to train your body from different angles
  • correct training errors – you need an experienced Coach for this; the way you use your body not only when exercising but throughout your day can, in time, lead to overuse injuries (here is an example)

 

These are just some general guidelines. I hope this will help you. Leave a comment below if they did.

Things for you to try and see how they work. For some people some things work while others don’t. If you seek advice I’d be more than happy to talk to you. Message me here. 

Of course if the pain gets worse or swelling gets worse see a doctor, it can be more serious.