4 Ways to Prevent Shin Splints

Posted on in Industry News, News

shinsDid you know that your shins have to bear up to six times your weight while you exercise? Think about it. Someone who weighs 130lbs can be bearing up to 780lbs! It’s no wonder shin splints happen to walkers and runners.

Shin splints happen when muscles, tendons, and bone tissue become overworked along the shinbone, the large front bone in the lower leg. They often occur in athletes who have recently intensified or changed their training routines.

Shin splints are, unfortunately, common among walkers and runners. They can sometimes put an active person out of commission until they have fully healed. Luckily, Prevention magazine recently identified four simple steps to prevent shin splints so you don’t have to slow down.

  1. Proceed with caution – your body can handle a workout routine. After all, it is designed to move. Pain occurs when you try to do too much too soon. For example, a runner who typically runs a mile or two a day may experience pain when they suddenly start running five miles a day. If you want to increase your mileage or speed do so gradually. A training plan developed by a physical therapist can help you safely achieve your goals.
  2. Get loose – tight calf muscles can be painful in themselves, but the can also place undue stress on your shins. Try loosening your calf muscles by doing the following:
  • Stand on a step facing a staircase. Let the back half of your right foot hang over the step’s edge, but keep your right knee straight. Your left foot should be entirely on the step. Next, bend your left knee and slowly let your right heel drop until you feel your calf stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat three or four times. Switch legs and stretch the other side. Repeat the sequence, slightly bending the knee of the leg you’re stretching.
  • Use a foam roller (we recommend one of our CanDo foam rollers). Sit down, placing the foam roller perpendicular to one calf. Using the other leg to move you with your foot on the floor, roll the foam roller along the length of the calf.
  1. Move your hips – having strong hips can help prevent overpronation (rolling your feet inward as you push off the ground). Over-pronating can result in shin pain. Try side-lying leg lifts 3 or 4 times a week to strengthen your hips.Here’s how you do them:
    Lie on your left side with your arms bent and supporting your head and with your right hand flat on the floor in front of you for balance. Flex the left knee so that it is bent on the floor in front of you for further support. This is the starting position. Next, keeping your right leg straight with your toes pointing down, lift your leg 5 times. Repeat 5 times with your toes pointing up (this works your hip from a different angle). Reverse your position and repeat with your left leg. As your strength and fitness improve, try adding our new CanDo Soft Weights for added resistance.
  2. Get regular rubdowns – regular deep-tissue massages will keep muscles in your lower legs loose and less prone to injury. If you don’t want to pay for a certified massage therapist every month, a foam roller can provide an at-home deep-tissue massage without breaking the bank.

If you already have shin splints, be sure to rest your legs. Try lower-intensity activities, such as swimming until you start to feel better. Ice and stretch your skins every day until you get back on your feet. Please note that you should see a doctor if your pain does not get better or if you suspect you have shin splints.

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