How To Avoid Shin Splints

Most runners have heard of the term “shin splints”. If you haven’t experienced it yourself you at least know someone who has. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a common term among runners and affects about 35% of the running population (1). In this article, I will cover:

  1. What shin splints are
  2. Risk of shin splints
  3. How to prevent shin splints

Shin splints is a generic term for lower leg pain that is typically seen in athletes that compete in higher impact sports. It is common for runners to have pain in the anterior (front) aspect of the shin or medial (inside) aspect of the shin. The source of the pain typically comes from inflammation of the periosteal (surrounds the bone) tissue, muscular tissue, and/or the connective tissue. Often times all of the structures are involved and increased activity and impact worsen the symptoms.

So who is at a higher risk for shin splints? New runners and veteran runners! Yes, that’s right. No matter how long you have been running you can develop shin splints. For new runners, it is common to develop shin pain secondary to the body not being used to the impact and not allowing enough time to build up mileage. For veteran runners, it is common to increase the frequency or intensity of the runs too quickly.

How do you prevent shin splints?

  1. Improve Running Form
  2. Avoid Overtraining
  3. Hip and Core Strengthening Exercises
  4. The flexibility of Calf, Hamstrings, and Hip Flexors

Whether you are a new runner or a veteran runner, it is important to make sure that you are properly training and preventing any risks for injury.

Watch this video to learn more about shin splints:

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References:

1. Newman, P. “Risk factors associated with medial tibial stress syndrome in runners: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” J Sports Med. 2013;4:229-241.

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