Ouch! Getting Relief From (and a Better Understanding of) Shin Splints

shin-splints

Running on softer surfaces can help prevent shin splints. Credit: mikebaird

Today’s post about how to treat shin splints is part of FBG’s Back to Basics Week that features the best beginner fitness and beginner nutrition posts that help you to be a little healthier and—in theme with the week—a little smarter. The information comes from Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more fitness advice visit www.lifefitness.com or follow Life Fitness on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’ve ever had shin splits, you know they aren’t fun. Shin splints cause a radiating pain in the front lower leg and often make an appearance among new walkers and runners who exercise on hard surfaces that offer no shock absorption. But what exactly are shin splints? The underlying cause of shin splints is weakness in the lower-leg muscle, an area known as the tibialis anterior. If you’d like to get relief from shin splints (and if you have them, we’re sure you do!), follow these tips on how to treat shin splints.

How to Treat Shin Splints in the Short-Term

  • Take your walking/running routine to a softer surface, which will reduce the shock that travels through the legs. Try exercising on a treadmill, grass or sand.
  • Consider purchasing orthotic shoe inserts at a local drugstore. If your shin splits are extreme, it may be helpful to visit a podiatrist for prescribed custom inserts.
  • Pace yourself! Increase your mileage gradually. Walking or sprinting a 5K after months of inactivity will leave your muscles overworked.
  • Alternate your exercise regimen by cross-training, which offers variety and can help relieve overall muscle stress.
  • Don’t forget that stretching is one of the most underrated forms of therapy and relief. Make it part of your daily routine, and your shins will thank you.

How to Treat Shin Splints in the Long-Term

  • Try walking on your heels. Walk across the room two or three times at first, and slowly build up to more repetitions.
  • While standing or sitting, lift your foot slightly off of the ground and draw the alphabet with your toes. Repeat on the other side.
  • Flex and point the toes any time you’re sitting. Try making this a daily routine.

It’s great to be enthusiastic about starting an intense fitness routine, but respecting your muscles will allow you to avoiding suffering from shin splints and meet your goals faster.

A big thanks to Life Fitness for the help on how to treat shin splints! Have you ever had shin splints? What did you do to recover? —Jenn

 




Comments

  1. Max Tall says

    It’s very helpful to know that even when you have shin splints there’s possible solutions to help alleviate the pain as well as strengthen the lower leg muscles. Good post.

  2. Jen says

    I know this is a quick post, but we need more detail on the short term treatment of stretching. That’s the whole thing right there! How on earth do you stretch a shin? Could you provide any stretching exercises for it? Thanks!

  3. Joy says

    Yep, constantly. Luckily, about 3 miles into a run the pain eases. Until I stop, anyway. ;) Icing, stretching, working on core and overall strengthening as well as stride, are about the only things that seem to do anything. Maybe someday they’ll go away.

  4. Joy says

    I’ve been told it’s due to tight calves, often. So I stretch my calves (alternate hanging my heels off a step), and also kneel down and sit back on my heels (so the top of the foot up to the knee is in contact with the ground). I feel a stretch through my shin and quads this way, depending on how far I sit into it and lean back. Clearly it hasn’t “cured” my shin splints, but it doesn’t seem to hurt.

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