Avoiding Shin Splints This Running/Walking Season

shin splintsIf you are an avid walker or an experienced runner, you have probably experienced shin splints.  Shin splints are one of the most common lower extremity ailments and are characterized as pain in the front inside area of the shin bone and are caused by overexertion.  The most common cause of shin splints is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the shin bone called the periostum. Other causes include: having flat feet or high arches, inadequate footwear, running on hard surfaces, and increasing your training too quickly.

As anyone who has had them can tell you, shin splints can be very painful, and the pain is usually caused by small tears in the muscle where it attaches to the shin bone.  Below are some tips to help both treat and prevent shin splints:

  • Treatment
    • ice the area to reduce pain and inflammation
    • take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen
    • rest and allow the injury to heal
  • Prevention
    • properly stretch before walking or running
    • strengthen your leg muscles
    • wear insoles or custom functional orthotics that offer arch support
    • be sure you have the right shoes for your foot type and activity (you can see our list of recommended shoes here
    • avoid running on hard surfaces
    • shorten your stride

If the pain is really bad, come in and see us as soon as possible.  Our doctors can give you a full diagnosis to find out if there is something more serious, such as a stress fracture in the area.  If we discover something more serious than shin splints, we can design a treatment plan and get you back on your feet in time to enjoy summer!