How to Cure Shin Splints

Learn how to prevent and cure shin splints to get you back on your feet.

Shin splints are definitely a nightmare for the majority of runners.  Shin splints are a common symptom of any sport involving constant movement using your lower body and are extremely hard to get rid of.  They're usually classified as an intense pain in the front of your lower legs, inhibiting your ability to walk or run.  There are some tips for prevention and curing them, however.

Pavement

Don't run on pavement when you're just starting to run.  If you took the summer off and you're just starting up running or jogging again, spending most of your time on pavement is a bad idea.  You'll want to run somewhere that has ground with better "give", because it's easier on your legs and shins.  If you're forced to run on pavement, keep your runs short.  Every step you take puts pressure on your shins, and you'll want to build up their strength for dealing with all your running habits.

Ice

Sure, stereotypical, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work.  Ice your shins after every practice, whether you're feeling the effects of shin splints or not.  Ice is a great prevention measure, and probably one of the most effective.  The cooling effects will help your shins adapt to stress and change over time.

Stretch

Do a lot of calf stretches and Achilles heel stretches.  These are optimal for the muscles that surround your shins, because it allows them more flexibility.  This will help when you're running on pavement and other unforgiving surfaces.  Stretch after you run, not before.

Rest

If you get a serious case of shin splints, you'll need to rest for at least a couple weeks.  Even if you take some time off and you're not doing as well with your running schedule as you'd like, taking some time off and healing fully will get much better results than continuing to run.

Increase padding in your shoes

This is something you should probably do either way, whether you have shin splints or not.  Padding in running is like padding in football (the American kind): you just need it.  It will decrease your rate of injury dramatically.

Take anti-inflammatory medicine

Taking medicine such as ibuprofen can ease your shins into the healing process.  It'll give you a good start on your way back to full health, plus ease your pain on the way there.

If all else fails, try another sport

There area variety of alternative sports that you can participate in while you're waiting for your shins to heal in order to maintain your physical fitness level.  Swimming, for example, is an almost perfect substitute.  Swimming will keep your endurance level high, while training most of the same muscles that running does.

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