Shin splints are one of the most common running injuries out there. It causes sore shins in the lower legs for runners. The pain of shin splints can be intense, annoying, and nearly every runner can empathize with how difficult they are to deal with. Fortunately, we have some tips and best practices runners can use to treat and prevent sore shins so you can get on with your training and meet your personal goals!
Shin splints are officially known as medial tibial stress syndrome, which presents as an aching pain on the front of your lower leg–on the shin bone, next to the tibia and calf muscles. If you ignore your shin pain, it can get so bad that it keeps you from running–or even worse, lead to a stress fracture. If you get a tibial stress fracture, that can halt your training for six weeks or more. So, it’s important to prevent and treat them.
If your shins hurt from running, they’re not always the culprit. Look upstream and downstream of the issue. Tight calves or quads could be failing to absorb impact, causing more stress to attack your shins with each step.
It could even be a foot or ankle problem. If your ankles are tight or you’re wearing the incorrect footwear, then your shins could be compensating.
Know when to rest, when to lightly exercise, when to foam roll and massage, and when to get help.
While runners of every level can get shin splints, it’s more common among newer runners who may start out their training too quickly, making shin soreness an overuse injury. Women are also two to three times more likely to get shin splints.
Most sports medicine experts agree that common causes of sore shins and shin splints are caused by a slight bending of the shin bone when the foot hits the ground–especially while running on hard surfaces. In experienced runners who are used to high mileage training, the body responds to shin splints by reforming and strengthening the tibia, making it thicker and hardier.
In less experienced runners, the tibia hasn’t had time to “learn” how to get stronger, making new runners more susceptible to the injury. However, there are ways to help prevent shin splints and treat them when it happens.
In a perfect world, we’d always be able to prevent shin splints. Here are some of the things runners can do to make them less likely”
Let’s take a look at this video about the best ways to prevent shin splints for runners:
Despite our best efforts, shin splints are still going to happen sometimes. If you start treating them early on, chances are you’ll avoid more pain down the road. Here are some of the best strategies for how to fix shin splints for good:
Here’s a great video to check out on how to foster excellent calf health:
Now, let’s hear from our own Coach Nate on how to fix shin splints–and his personal experience:
Ready to put shin pain behind you for good? Start a regimented training program! We’ll show you why your shins hurt after running and give you more tips for preventing shin splints—all on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis.
Have you downloaded our new mobile app? It’s loaded with workouts, videos, tips, and advice from expert coaches to keep you motivated every step of the way. Don’t forget to check out our range of training plans for runners of all levels, too! Finally, learn more about our injury prevention toolkit!