What Causes Shin Splints and How Can they be Treated?

Before I start any run, I’m a little wary because of shin splints. Here are a few questions about shin splints and their answers.
The good news is shin splints don’t have to ruin your long-term running-shin-splintsrunning plans.

What Causes Shin Splints?

When you are overworking your lower legs, shin splints may occur. Your shinbone and the muscle tissue that connects muscle and bone are seeing too much action. When you run, you bend your shin bone. That muscle around your shin will tear, much like your bicep when you’re doing curls.  As you start to run on a consistent basis, your bones should strengthen and shin splints will be less frequent or go away all together.

Are some people more at-risk for shin splints?

Yes. The US National Library of Medicine says that you are more at risk for shin splints if you have flat feet or rigid foot arches. (1)

How can shin splints be treated?

The best treatment is to stop doing whatever it was that caused the shin splints. If you were running, don’t try to run through the pain. Cut back on the amount of running you were doing until your body builds up the strength to handle more.

How can I prevent shin splints?

Your workout environment may also increase the risk of shin splints. Working out on hard surfaces (cement, asphalt, hardwood floor, etc.) can increase your chances of getting shin splints. If you aren’t working shoes that give you the proper support, you increase your chances of getting shin splints. Did you know that you should replace your running shoes every 250 miles? Those miles may add up fast for some. (1)

It can be difficult to find a place to run that isn’t a hard surface. So, you may have to cut the distance that you run. Try running half of the distance and then get your remaining distance using a stationary bike.

1: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000654.htm

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