Preventing and caring for shin splints

Preventing and caring for shin splints

As an endurance runner, you are probably intimately familiar with shin splints. If you don’t know, shin splints is the term for pain in the lower front legs that commonly occurs for distance runners. Shin splints are especially common in beginner runners and runners who have changed their regime with a significant mileage or speed increase. Shin splints are frustrating and can be very painful, preventing you from continuing training as you would like. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent shin splints, and when you do get them, there are ways you can care for them to ease your pain.

Shin splints: prevention

The key to preventing shin splints is to train properly. If you take certain steps during your endurance training, you will be better prepared.

  • Start off slow. Resist the temptation to run too much too soon. You are much more likely to develop shin splints if you run for a long time suddenly, so make a point to gradually increase your running time.
  • Cross train. Running sometimes shocks the system, so supplement it with other, more joint-friendly exercises, such as swimming or cycling.
  • Use a short stride and higher cadence - 180bpm is the ideal target for max efficiency and minimum injury risk. This running technique reduces your chances of developing shin splints.

Shin splints: treatment

Even if you take all of the preventative measures above, you could still develop shin splints. If so, it's important to properly treat them so you can get back to running as soon as possible. Some ways you can ease the pain of shin splints are:

  • Rest. The most important thing you can do for your shin splints is rest. Pushing yourself to run more will only aggravate the problem.
  • Ice your legs. This will reduce the swelling and pain. Do this for about 20 minutes every three hours until the pain subsides.
  • Consult a physical therapist if you find that you are still frequently getting shin splints after taking preventative measures
  • Check out this excellent in-depth shin splints post from James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution - he knows his stuff!

Now you know more about shin splints, you can do your best to prevent them during your endurance running training. When you're getting ready for your next marathon, try our powerful, natural endurance supplements. Shop today!

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