If you are a runner, one of your worst nightmares may be experiencing the pain of shin splints. Shin splints occur when you are running because of the tibia’s increased stress as your foot strikes the ground. Unfortunately, shin splints can lead to stress fractures if you aren’t careful. The best option is to try to avoid them altogether. Shenandoah Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offer the following tips to help you avoid this painful sports injury.
1. Listen to Your Body
It’s very easy to say, “I just need to keep running,” when your body is asking for a break. When you feel legitimate pain, take a break. Pain is a message to your brain that something could be wrong.
2. Keep your Distance Manageable
Overdoing your run just once can lead to shin splints. Steady increases in running length and time are key to avoiding shin splints. Gradual increases in your running should allow your bones to get used to new distances and longer run times. Any quick increase might actually mean a setback.
3. Perform Exercises to Improve Strength of Leg Muscles
You are less likely to experience shin splints or another tibia injury when you strengthen the muscles surrounding the bone. Toe curls, heel drops, and bridges may be some of the best ways to strengthen muscles around the tibia. Strong muscles takes the pressure off the bone.
4. Decrease Pounding by Running on Soft Surfaces
If you run on concrete everyday, you could switch it up and use a treadmill a couple of times per week. A treadmill or a track surface may be a better solution if you feel the pain in your shins worsening.
5.Change Your Shoes Often
Changing your shoes as often as recommended for your weekly mileage will help minimize impact injuries to shins. Overused shoes, especially shoes that are stretched or fit poorly can increase your chance of impact and other injuries as well.
Shenandoah Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine encourages all athletes to listen to their body when playing a sport or hitting the gym. If you feel pain you should back off, lessen the weights or decrease the mileage. Taking breaks and listening to your body will help prevent a more serious injury later. We provide a wide range of orthopedic and sports medicine related services. If you are experiencing pain and would like to be seen by an orthopedic specialists, you can request an appointment online or call 540.932.5850.