Shin Splints: Runner's Kryptonite

April 21, 2011


While scrolling through Facebook in class today, a friend’s status caught my attention. Her update: “WebMD says shin splits can take 3-6 months to heal. That's a long time not to be able 2 run. #torture” I haven’t had a serious case of shin splints in over six years. No matter how much time elapses, I can’t forget the pain and discomfort they cause. Honestly, I would rather someone pluck all of my nose hairs and eye lashes out one-by-one daily than have to deal with shin splints. It’s a nagging injury that is hard to treat. If you aren’t familiar with shin splints lucky you , here are a couple of facts about the lower leg pain. 1. Shin splints are usually categorized as an overuse injury, and they start when you suddenly increase the distance or intensity of your workout. 2. People who overpronate or have flat feet are usually more prone to the injury. However, it they can also result from a tight achilles tendon or weak ankle muscles. How to treat shin splits: 1. Stop Running or decrease your runs – Yeah, that’s not exactly the news that most of us want to hear. But, the last time I had shin splints, I had to decrease my mileage and start swimming and doing low impact workouts. Runner’s World also recommends switching to cross-training as alternative as well. 2. Ice – Icing your shins is a key step because it will help reduce the pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes a day until the pain is gone. 3. Tape - I ran across this shin splint treatment on the Runner’s World website. Their advice is to use Kinesio tape to tape your arches and lower leg as a way to take some of the pressure off of your shins. I’ve blogged about kinesio tape before, and you can see my review here. Although I don’t want to advocate taping as a long-term treatment, it is one of the best treatments that I have used to deal with my own injuries. Check out the Runner’s World article on taping here. 4. Stretch – Since a tight Achilles tendon can cause shin splints, it’s good to stretch your achilles and the muscles in your lower leg. Check out these stretches from Spark People that specifically target these areas. All right ladies, how many of you guys have had shin splints? How did you treat them?

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