How do I Prevent Shin Splints?

Anna T.

The best way for you to prevent shin splints is to not take on a higher level of activity, such as in running or any other type of exercising involving the muscles around the shins, until you are ready. Many people get shin splints because they try to do too much at one time, and their muscles simply cannot keep up with the activity level. When you are beginning any new type of exercise routine, try to start off slowly at first and work your way up to more intense levels later. You may also be able to prevent shin splints by warming up before a workout, using ice after a workout, and making sure your shoes are not worn out.

Proper stride is important for preventing shin splints when running.
Proper stride is important for preventing shin splints when running.

If you get shin splints, you are likely experiencing pain that resulted from tiny tears in the muscles just outside your shins. Many people work out to build up the muscles in their calves but neglect to think about strengthening their shins. Even if you have strong, toned calf muscles, you could still get shin splints if your muscles in that area are weak. When you are working out, you should do some exercises to build up these muscles, such as stepping up with one foot onto a chair or other surface and holding your position for about 10 seconds before coming back down. Trying to lift small amounts of weight with your toes may also help you to build up your shins.

A high-quality shoe can help prevent shin splints by supporting the foot and placing less stress on the tibia bone.
A high-quality shoe can help prevent shin splints by supporting the foot and placing less stress on the tibia bone.

Stretching exercises just before a vigorous workout session are also recommended to prevent shin splints. You can stretch your shins by placing your foot against one wall and bending your torso down over your shin. You should try to hold the position for about 15 seconds before releasing. Doing this a few times before a workout may greatly reduce your chances of getting shin splints. It's also not a good idea to try to do too much too soon, particularly if you are running. If you start to feel pain in your shins, just stop rather than try to run through the pain so you don't make the problem even worse.

If you want to prevent shin splints, you should also pay attention to what type of shoes you're using to work out in. Shoes that are old with worn down soles are more likely to cause shin splints than newer shoes. People with strong muscles around their shins are still at risk of getting shin splints if they wear worn out shoes. You might also want to try using ice on your shins just after working out. Ice can reduce swelling and inflammation of your muscles, which may prevent shin splints.

Stretching exercises just before a vigorous workout session are recommended to prevent shin splints.
Stretching exercises just before a vigorous workout session are recommended to prevent shin splints.

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Discussion Comments

Reminiscence

My doctor told me to start jogging or running a few years ago, and I thought I was doing it right. My legs started feeling inflamed after a short run, and I realized it was shin splints. A trainer at my gym told me I wasn't wearing the best shoes for shin splints, so I got a pair of actual running shoes and things got better.

The trainer also taught me some exercises to prevent shin splints, most leg routines that strengthened the front of my legs and ankles. I also learned a better running stride that took some of the impact off my shins.

Ruggercat68

I remember having to learn some basic choreography for a choir routine in high school, and my lower legs really started to hurt. They felt like they were on fire, and I could barely put any weight on them. The pain was along both sides of my shin bone.

The choreographer tole me it was shin splints. She said one way to prevent shin splints was to make sure I landed the jumps without leaning forward. I was launching into the jumps on my toes and landing the same way. That was putting way too much strain on the front of my legs, and that's what caused the shin splints.

She showed me some stretches to prevent shin splints in the future, and told me to take anti-inflammatory pain pills, like sodium naproxen.

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