Are you sick and tired of waiting around as you let your shin splints heal, only to lace up your shoes and feel the pain come soaring back up your legs? Do you want to finally find a way to deal with the pain and get back on the road faster than you thought possible? Read on to see what we feel you should be dong to finally give you a shin splint solution.
How are Shin Splints Caused and What are the Symptoms?
Repetitive stress and over-training are the main causes of shin splints although other factors can also bring them on such as running or jumping on a hard surface, running with poor form and technique and pushing too hard without adequate time for rest and recovery.
Increasing your mileage too quickly, wearing the wrong types of shoes and further muscular imbalances in the body can also play a part in your developing the condition and the impact it will have on your body.
Once you develop shin splints you will feel pains that differ in severity down the front of the lower leg (shins) stemming from the tibia and the surrounding connective tissue. It’s a painful condition that requires rest to successfully heal.
The normal course of treatment for those suffering from shin splints is as follows:
When combined together over a period of time it is hoped that you should improve, but be warned, attempting to restart running too soon can cause the condition to flare back up.
It’s obvious to us that this method is based on vague guesswork and at best, you’re often hoping for recovery instead of promoting it, but due to the wide nature of possible causes, we feel there is a better way to accelerate the healing process.
The method above may work and we certainly understand the reasons behind it, but it’s also easy to see why so many people don’t actually make the progress they had intended, in the time frame they had hoped for and why the problem is never truly resolved.
We feel that by combining the methods below, with the traditional advice above, you will begin to see improvements much faster than you would have imagined.
Shoes : Many people that develop shin splints do so whilst wearing their old, beaten up running shoes. Sometimes, they aren’t even running shoes, simply shoes they’ve ‘always worn’.
We know you love them, and it may be painful to part with them, but you need to make sure you are wearing the right type of shoes for you.
If they are old and beaten up then it’s time to donate them or throw them away but under no circumstances should they be back on your feet.
When it’s time for a new pair you should head down to a specialist store to have them checked and fitted by a professional instead of simply opting for the first pair of running shoes you see in the store.
Your foot width and length can all be taken into account when you visit a specialist and in some stores, they will even be able to assess your foot pattern and stride length to help you get the perfect shoe for pain-free running.
Strength Training: In many cases, muscular imbalances also play a part in the development of shin splints. Whether that is from an underactive glute, an overcompensating quadricep, a particularly tight hamstring or a weak hip there are many different muscles that can cause the pain you feel when running. As there are many different possible causes the best plan here would be to go and see a professional and begin to incorporate strength training into your routine.
Many runners are reluctant to weight train as they “don’t want to get too big” but the truth here is that strength training is an extremely important aspect of your training and one which should be undertaken 2-3 times a week depending on your activity as a runner.
Whilst recovering from shin splints, and with limited opportunities to run, you will have ample opportunities to get in the gym and begin working on your strength.
Stretch and Mobility: If you aren’t already using a foam roller and including stretch and mobility work in your training then you’re missing out. Much like lifting weights, many runners don’t feel stretch and mobility is something they need to focus on, but once again, the opposite is true.
Stretching, and reducing the build-up of tension in your muscles is vital for preparing your body for exercise and also helping with recovery after your runs.
Shin splints can be very troublesome as they can take a very long time to heal and you should always go and see a trained professional and try to pinpoint what caused your condition and find a resolution, but once you do, you may now have a few more ideas to help you recover faster.
Traditional advice would have you waiting around, hoping everything is ok, but by adding the above actions, alongside the traditional advice, you could soon see your recovery time come tumbling down.
Of course, you still need to use common sense and approach with caution because by lifting weights and wearing a compression sleeve you won’t magically be better in a couple of hours but over time, as you build your body, develop your muscles, increase your flexibility and come equipped with new and improved running shoes (and accessories) you will be ready to hit the road again in no time.
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