Shin splints are a common condition characterised by pain that occurs next to the tibia, the bone that connects the knee to the ankle bones. The pain commonly occurs on the front of the lower leg or the inside of the leg. Also referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints build up when you expose your leg to stress that overworks the leg muscles. Cases of shin splints are common among athletes, dancers, military recruits, and runners.
Luckily, there are ways of preventing shin splints. This article takes you through some of the most effective preventive measures. Read on if you are looking for ways to put an end to pain.
Before starting any exercise, health experts recommend stretching. As you stretch, the muscles and the mind prepare for any activities that might follow. According to recent research, sudden muscle reflexes can cause a lot of harm to the body. So if you are prone to shin splints, consider target stretching to enable your leg muscles to withstand stress.
As you stretch the calves and other surrounding muscles, the pain in these area subsidises. Calf raises, soleus muscle stretch, and the seated shin stretch are among the recommended stretching techniques that yield the desired result.
- Wear comfortable shoes
Sports experts recommend the use of appropriate clothing in any sporting activity. The clothing increases flexibility in an exercising environment. The comfort of shoes provides a desirable posture as you walk or exercise. Consequently, the pose relieves tension from the leg muscles due to an even spread of shock.
Shoes with cushioning reduce cases of shin splints significantly. In this case, consider replacing worn-out shoes. Besides, ensure that you choose shoes that fit the intended purpose. You can achieve this by checking each shoe description before purchasing a pair.
- Ice massage
Ice massage acts as a relief on the inflammation and muscular pain. Ice massage can be conducted at different times to create a healing effect on these muscles. Use ice packs or ice cups twice a day to achieve the desired results.
- Gradual build-up
As you develop enthusiasm to exercise, you will likely want to achieve quick results. The fast and excessive subjection of the body to these conditions may create harmful health conditions such as shin splints. Consider the gradual build-up in exercising as it helps your body adjust to the exercise environment. The gradual build-up is one of the recommended techniques which significantly reduces body harm.
- Maintain short strides
Shin splints can be caused by overstretching the leg muscles. As you prepare to exercise, consider utilising short strides as they minimise the stretch in muscles, which in turn prevents shin splints.
- Maintain a healthy body weight
An increase in body weight propels the probability of shin splints. It’s worth noting that being overweight is not the primary cause of shin splints. However, it is one of the factors that lead to their development. Consider maintaining a healthy body weight, which in turn reduces stress on the leg muscles.
- Exercise on a level and soft surface
When you exercise on hard surfaces such as concrete sidewalks, the chances of developing shin splints increase significantly. Therefore it would help to exercise on soft surfaces such as grass. Smooth surfaces absorb most of the shock, which in turn prevents overloading of the muscles. As you exercise on soft surfaces, you shield the legs from shin splints.
The human body can wear off if subjected to excessive exercise. The wear occurs on different parts of the body, including the muscles and joints. Continuous training causes additional injuries to the body, which makes you susceptible to shin splints. You can take some rest between exercises. By observing this, muscles get enough time to recover, and the body restores your energy reserves.
- Strength training
The weakness in the anterior tibial muscles results in shin splints. Strength training aims at improving the legs’ ability to withstand the build-up of stress. As you focus on strength training, you acquire the desired strength, which prevents shin splints.
Written by Gary Buchenic – Personal Trainer, and author of Stop Shin Splints Forever: How to Cure Shin Splints Fast without Stopping Your Sport!