16 Sep 2019
Shin splints? Why would I tape bits of wood to the sides of my leg? Well, you might if you were in the Wild West and needed to limp to the nearest town. But, as you probably know, that’s not what shin splints are.
Shin splints also go by more highbrow medical names depending on where symptoms are present, that being medial, or anterior tibial stress syndrome and they are an uncomfortable pain in your lower leg.
Shin splints can become a sudden, unexpected pain in the shin when you start walking or running regularly. They can come on when you start dancing. They’re also common to people new to the military with all the pack marching and drilling they have to do regularly.
Shin splints can also affect seasoned trainers when you up the ante via impact activities, speed or mileage, move to a new surface to train or even change your shoes.
In a word, force; in two words, excessive force.
For example, a combination of cheap training shoes and concrete footpaths or roads can place an excessive amount of jarring force on the calf muscles and other muscles surrounding through the shin area. If this impact becomes prolonged and severe, the muscles around your shins will begin to swell, placing pressure on the shin bone itself.
The result: shin splints, pain and inflammation. Worst case scenario: bone cracks and even complete fractures.
The answer is simple: do whatever you can to minimise the force applied to the muscles around your shins.
You can do this quite easily by following these simple steps (no pun intended).
As a rule, footpaths and roads are made of concrete or bitumen. Would you bash your head against them? So why subject your shins to a step-by-step bashing that will ultimately do your head in any way via shin splint pain?
Run-on grass if you can find a park big enough to alleviate boredom. If you can’t, listen to podcasts for entertainment and run in circles on a small park.
And, whatever surface you walk or run on, invest in some decent athletic shoes with a cushioned sole and suitable arch support.
Look at your shins; even if you’re well built, they’re spindly things compared to the rest of you. And everything above them is weight those spindly shins have to carry about, be it walking, running, or playing sport.
Do your shins a favour: don’t stuff your face with fatty foods that place extra, unnecessary stress on your shins.
And that’s before you walk or run. A few basic stretches before you set off warms your leg muscles, gets them nice and limber and reduces your chances of pain later.
Once you’ve mastered walking and minimised your risk for shin splints, it’s time to up the pace. Think you can run 5kms? Here are some tips to make sure you can.
And if you knew all this, it might be time to become a personal trainer and teach others how to stay fit and free of pain with a nationally recognised qualification.
Proud member of