Ultimate Guide to Shin Splint Relief and Prevention
Most trainers have no idea what shin splints are. What they do know is that they are very painful and they want to get rid of them. In this article, we’ll not only explain what causes the agony, but provide you with 7 proven ways to find out how to cure a shin splint.
What are Shin Splints?
Shin Splints, or medial tibial periostasis, is pain at the lower front of the leg that is brought on by exercise. They can be the result of not warming up properly, the stress brought on by suddenly increasing your running volume, bad running form, the constant pounding of running on a hard surface or some form of biomechanical abnormality.
The symptoms of shin splints are a dull ache felt on the inner side of shin. This pain gets worse when you start to exercise. You may also experience some swelling in the area.
7 Surefire Ways to Beat Shin Splints
Wear Calf Compression Sleeves
Compression sleeves are a fantastic way to improve your running performance, while providing a shin splint cure. They do this in two main ways.
Maintaining the flow of oxygenated blood to the muscles is important to improved performance. It also removes lactic acid and other waste products when you exercise. The build up of these waste products inhibits performance and leads to soreness.
The shock and vibration of running is a key contributor to shin splints. Compression sleeves help in both area by applying graduated compression to the lower leg. The lighter compression is in the ankle and it gradually decreases as you go up the leg.
Compression causes arteries to dilate, increasing the supply of oxygenated blood to the muscle and causing veins to constrict. This increases the blood flow and waste product removal from the area. Compression sleeves also provide physical support to the muscles to reduce muscle shock and vibration. This goes a long way to reducing impact on the shins.
The combined effect of more oxygen, less buildup of lactic acid, and decreased muscle vibration results in enhanced performance, reduced fatigue and less shin splint pain.
Compression sleeves don’t only bring shin splint relief when you’re exercising. Working professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet can also greatly benefit.
The best compression sleeves to provide you with relief from shin splints is the Emerge Calf Support Sleeve. This premium quality sleeve makes use of 70 Denier Invista LYCRA® and Medical circular 360 degree knit construction to provide the most durable, comfortable sleeve we have ever come across. In addition, this sleeve WILL NOT lose its elasticity like many rival brands. More impressive still, the Emerge Calf Support Sleeve are the best value you’ll find anywhere - and they come with a 100% money back guarantee.
Check out the Emerge Calf Support Sleeve here . . .
Wear Quality Shoes
If you’ve only got a single pair of shoes to run in, you will be far more likely to get shin splints. After six months of regularly running in a pair of shoes, the heels will wear down, the soles will get thin and the ankle stability will decrease. That’s why ideally you should replace your shoes every 6-9 months. This may set you back a $100-200 dollars, but it will definitely help to avoid the pain of shin splints.
Choose the Shoes Specific to Your Needs
A lot of shin splint problems originate with either over or under pronation when running. You can buy shoes to correct these issues, but first you need to identify them.
Overpronation / Underpronation
If the foot striking the ground tilts inwards, the force is focused on the inside of the foot and ankle. This places undue strain on the knee and causes the hips to rotate, which destabilizes the core.
The opposite of this, underpronation, sees the foot tilting outward which puts the stress on the outside of the knee. This inhibits the body’s natural shock absorbing ability. The ideal is to have a neutral gait, where the pressure is distributed evenly throughout the sole. This allows push off for the next cycle to come from all five toes.
To determine the way that your lower leg absorbs the shock of impact (your foot pronation), simply take a look at a pair of your shoes. If most of the wear is on the outside of the sole, then you are more than likely an underpronator. If the wear is more towards the inside of the sole, you are an overpronator. If the wear appears even, then you are likely to have a neutral running gait.
You can also perform the ‘wet foot test’ to pinpoint your running gait. Step in some water in bare feet then stand on a piece of colored paper. Now analyse the mark left behind. You will be able to see clearly if you have raised arches (there will be no impression for the mid-foot), low arches (the impression of the entire foot will appear), or neutral arches (the impression curves naturally at the mid-foot).
Raised arches is a sign that your feet under pronate. You have a tendency to run on your forefoot and your foot does not pronate sufficiently. Low arches have a flatter foot due to the arch collapsing throughout the foot motion.
In order to develop a good raining gait, you need to consider the type of shoes that you will run in. The most important requirement here is to get the right fit. To achieve this you need to match your running shoe to your gait as follows;
Underpronators – cushioned shoes are designed for you. You tend to run on your toes and have a raised arch. The shoe is not big on stability but it does provide softness and cushioning under foot.
Overpronators – Control shoes are specifically designed for you. You have a flatter foot due to the arch collapsing through foot strike. The shoe is heavier and provides extra support and cushioning.
Neutral Gait – the shoe for you is called a “support” shoe. They combine cushioning with a light weight and have extra support on the inner side of the shoe to reduce foot roll.
If you are going to go shopping for a new pair, don’t be overly swayed by the look and color of the shoe. After matching the type of shoe to your running gait, consider the following factors:
- Shoe size – allow half an inch from the front of the shoe to the end of your longest toe. This allows for the expansion of the foot that occurs when you run.
- Your weight – the more you weigh, the more cushioning and support the foot requires.
- The running surface – if you will be running mainly on the road, you need a shallow, hard-wearing tread. Off road running demands deeper lugs for better grip.
- Foot width – do you have a broad or a narrow foot? Look for a shoe that goes beyond the standard D fitting, and is tailored to your shape.
Run on Soft Ground
When running, run on grass or dirt, you will far fewer issues with painful shins. The worst thing to run on is concrete. You can get away with it over short distances, but for long distances running stick with firm grass or dirt in order to get shin splint relief.
Stretch and Warm Up
A lot of shin splint pain could be avoided if people were to get into the habit of stretching and warming up before they run. Begin with a 3-5 minute walk to get everything warm. Stretch before you begin running, with a emphasis on stretching the calves. If you are getting pain during your run, stop every half mile or so and give your legs a good stretch before continuing on.
Shin Splint stretches need to focus on the calf muscles. Here is the key shin splint support stretch you need to be doing:
Stand with your right leg forward and your left foot a step width behind. With your toes pointing ahead, slightly bend your right knee, keeping your left knee straight and your heels on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
A lot of shin splint problems result from incorrect running technique. That’s why you should head down to a running speciality store and get a gait analysis done. Trained professionals will watch you walk, and run to determine if you oversupinate or overpronate. They will also examine your cadence and vertical oscillation. Your cadence refers to how many strides you take in a minute. If that number is low it means that you are taking really long strides. This puts a lot more impact on your knees and shins. Vertical oscillation refers to how you jump between each stride. If you jump too high, your impact is going to be high also.
Upgrading your insoles is the cheapest thing you can do to ward off shin splints. There are a lot of different types of insoles on the market, so it pays to experiment. Try those that provide a lot of arch support as well as ones that are made of carbon and have less support.
Shin Splints are an unpleasant reality for millions of runners. The first step in gaining relief and prevention is to buy a quality pair of compression sleeves, such as those provided by Emerge. Following up with the six extra steps we’ve outlined will allow you to enjoy the wonderful benefit of running without running into lower leg problems. More reviews below:
- Bullet Point 1
- Bullet Point 2