Shin Splints while running are a common issue especially with new runners. The issue occurs when there is an improportionate stress on the front or the back leg muscles (calves and shins). Here are a few ways to cure shin splints from running.
1) Prevent Shin Splints by Adjusting Running Stride
Shin splints often occur due to overstriding. The runner may be landing with the leg too far in front of his body and thus too far in front of his center of gravity. This will put a lot of stress on the lower legs as they are now supporting the mass that the quads and hamstrings should be absorbing. While longer stride length is desirable in running, too long of a stride length causes issues. Have the runner consciously think about landing with the leg closer to the body. If the runner maintains their turnover rate, there should not be a loss in speed. In fact speed may be gained.
2) Ease Shin Splint Pain by Running on Soft Surfaces
Hard surfaces often contribute to shin splint pain. Choose trails and grass until you get the issue under control using the other preventative measures.
3) Reduce Shin Splint Pain with Ice, Massage & Sweat Pants
Ice immediately after running in order to reduce inflammation in the shins and calves. It is recommended to ice for 20 minutes on and then remove for 20 minutes and then re-apply for 20 minutes. If you don’t have 60 minutes to ice, at least apply ice for the initial 20 minutes or reduce icing to 10 on, 10 off, 10 on.
Later in the evening, before bed, massage the tender area. This can reduce inflammation but also will cause blood to circulate to the area. More blood means more ability to deliver healing amino acids and vitamins. Which brings us to sweat pants…
Yes, sweat pants. Wear sweat pants to bed in order to increase circulation to the inflamed areas. As we discussed, increased blood flow means better healing.
4) Exercises to Cure Shin Splints From Running
Do the routine below every other day. Start with 1 set of each exercises and increase as able to 3 sets of each exercise. After the shin splints subside (maybe 3 weeks), reduce to 1 set every other day as maintenance.
a) Make the alphabet with your feet. Sit down and pretend your foot is a marker. Make a capital “A”. Make a capital “B”. Continue all the way through “Z”. Start with the right leg and then repeat with the left. Repeat using a lower case alphabet for set 2. Set 3 should be the cursive alphabet.
b) Do towel toe curls. Take off your socks and stand or sit over a bathroom towel. Use your toes to scrunch up the towel as though you were trying to pick it up. Then relax your foot. This is 1 rep. Do 20 reps per foot.
c) Do calf raises. Stand equally on both feet. From a flat footed position, raise off your heels and onto your toes. Pause for 1 second at the apex and lower back to flat footed. Do 15 reps with equal weight on each foot.
4) Do heel raises. Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Lower your heels so the rear of your foot dips below your toes. Pause for 1 second while lowered. Raise your heels back up so your feet are horizontal. Do 15 reps with equal weight on each foot.