How to Prevent Shin Splints

 

With the first day of spring right around the corner the weather has already began to warm up, which means we can begin to enjoy running outdoors again. If you have been running on an indoor track or a treadmill during the winter months you want to take some precautions before going all out on your first run outdoors. First you are going to want to ease into running outdoors again, the reason being that your body is used to running on a softer surface all winter and if you put a lot of miles on unforgiving concrete all at once shin splints are sure to occur. A safe approach would be to alternate running outdoors one day and running indoors the next, while also slowly adding in more mileage on your outdoor days. You should also be paying attention to how your foot strikes the ground when you are running. If your heel hits the ground first the constant shock of your heels slamming onto the pavement will irritate the tissues of the lower leg, this causes inflammation which causes the pain and discomfort associated with shin splints. A more fore-foot or mid-foot strike can reduce the stress placed on the lower leg when running, allowing the musculature of the lower leg to absorb the impact before the heel comes into contact with the ground. If shin splints do occur it is a good idea to take time off from running/reduce your overall mileage to give your body time to recover and remember to ice your shins! Icing is often overlooked and it is a great way to alleviate pain and speed up recovery, if you are suffering from shin splints be sure to ice the area that is causing the pain for 15-20 minutes at a time.

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