What Causes Shin Splints?
Many would agree that shin splints have derailed many an athlete’s hard-won training gains. They are one of the most frustrating because they make simple tasks, such as running, impossible and then mysteriously vanish when you stop running… It’s quite a torment! But the term 'shin splints' actually denotes more than one lower leg injury, meaning there can be many causes.
Bone-related shin pain (medial tibial stress syndrome) can cover quite a broad spectrum of injuries, ranging from a stress injury, bone irritation, to a stress fracture or an actual fracture in the bone. The area hurts during and can hurt after exercise, and the tibia can hurt to the touch. Shin pain that’s bone-related is also a lot more common than muscular shin pain.
Generally, shin splints are the result of three variables: amount of physical activity, body mechanics and bone density. Activity can be a contributing factor if you increase your physical workload too quickly. Body mechanics is all about build, specifically foot type and strike. Bone density will vary from person to person but is more of a risk for women.
How to Heal shin splints
Bone Related: It is essential to see a doctor for proper diagnosis when you start noticing symptoms. Plain stress injuries can easily become fractures which can be serious if you’re very physically active. Alternatively, you can find another activity that doesn’t put so much pressure on your legs i.e. swimming, cycling etc.
Muscular: The main problem with this is a tight fascia (The tough material that wraps most of our muscles).Try running your shins and calves over a foam roller for several minutes, several times a day to help loosen the fascia. Manual massage can help as well. Also, try arch support and motion control shoes. These can help correct biomechanical problems in the feet and take the stress off the affected muscles. If these measures don’t help, see a doctor.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
Consider changing shoes: There are certain types of shoes that drastically limit pronation… Insoles/arch support can also help.
Shorten your running stride: Doing this will help you generate better stride mechanics due to less pressure on the legs.
Up calcium and vitamin D intakes: 1,300mg of calcium and 400ug of D is said to be a good daily intake. There are many food sources for this, such as milk and yogurt.