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For the Sake of Your Shins

By Donna Kostiew

Shin splints. They are one of the most common sources of pain and discomfort for those who run and when you have them, boy, do you know it! They don’t go unnoticed. Shin splints are the pain that you feel on the front outside part of the lower leg, and they often occur when you are new to running or are doing too much. They’re painful enough that they can literally knock a runner off their feet. But don’t let the idea of shin splints keep you from your daily run. Like many potential setbacks along your fitness journey, there are ways to prevent this injury.

Ways to Avoid Being Sidelined with Shin Splints

Shin splints are caused by constant strain on the calf and shin muscles and can be aggravated by many other factors. They can affect runners of all levels, so whether you are just starting to run, or are increasing your regular training, use the following tips to help avoid them.

  • Start slow – New to running? Take it slow. Shin splints are the most common injury for beginner runners, so even if you feel healthy, don’t start off running like a seasoned pro. If you do start feeling shin splint pain, try to stop and don’t run through the discomfort.
  • Look for softer surfaces - Pavement is tough on your legs and feet and adds extra stress and strain on your muscles, bones, and joints. Look for various types of surface to run on, such as dirt trails, grass, all-weather running tracks, or treadmills.
  • Use the proper footwear – Wearing the correct footwear is critical for healthy running and greatly reduces the risk of injury. This may need to be accomplished by trial and error, or with orthopedic inserts, but don’t give up!
  • Rest - When it comes to avoiding shin splints, rest is the best option, so try to take it easy on certain days or take a day off every now and then. It will give you the perfect time to recover. But if you feel like you still need to accomplish something, try something different and cross-train on those days.
  • Stretch, strengthen, massage - Stretching your calves before and after your workouts, strengthening your muscles with heel and toe raises, and massaging your lower legs are great ways to avoid shin splints.

Don’t let the pain of shin splints keep you from achieving your fitness goals. With some preventative strategies and some patience, if you have them, you will be able to maintain your fitness goals and stay on track … literally.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hillsboro, Ore.

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