Most professional runners have experienced shin splints at a certain point in their careers. However, beginner runners are more susceptible to shin splints than pro runners. It is caused by weak shin muscles or tight calf muscles. Shin splints can put you on the sidelines for more than two months. That’s a whole load of time, and you have also to take your training slow not to reinjure the shins again. It is a headache that most runners have and look for creative ways to avoid them. In this article, we are going to look at how to prevent shin splints for runners.
Get The Right Running Shoes
Having the right running shoes can help an athlete prevent a lot of injuries. That means that you get shoes designed for your feet and the terrain you run in. According to The Running Advisor, running shoes with no enough cushioning can cause shin splints to an athlete. However, like everything running shoes also have a life span. To prevent shin splints for runners, you need to replace your shoes after 300 to 400 miles. It is because the shoe cushioning after this period is no longer strong enough serve you diligently.
When getting the best running shoes for yourself, look at the cushioning that runs from the toe box to the heel. Also, you need enough space in the toe box for your toes to move freely. The last thing is the support of the shoes you choose. Proper shoe support helps your feet maintain the right posture during your running routine.
Work On Your Running Routine
Having a running routine is one thing, but having a proper running routine is everything. Your running routine should be planned according to your strengths and limits. This will help you not to overwork your body that might lead to injuries. Planning a running routine should also include your warm-up and cool-down routines. Shin splints are majorly caused by rigid calf muscles or weak shin muscles. Warm-up will help your muscles be flexible, and that’s one of the best ways to prevent shin splints for runners.
You should not increase your mileage rapidly. Overworking your calf muscles can be a cause for shin splints. Consider increasing your mileage gradually and taking days off to allow your muscles to relax and heal.
Weak anterior tibialis muscles can attribute to you feeling some shin pains. If you have weak anterior tibialis muscles, having the right shoes and working on your training routine does not get you out of the woods completely. The shin pains can gradually develop into shin splints to an athlete. Most beginner runners are susceptible to this because their anterior tibialis muscles are underdeveloped. Strength training is the first measure encouraged to prevent shin splints for runners.
There are various strength exercises that you can do to make your shin and calf muscles strong. Toe curl is one of the exercises that directly engages the calf and shin muscles. Other exercises include heel drop, monster walk, single-legged bridge, and toe walk. Doing these exercises during your warm-up routine will help you prevent shin splints while running. Running technique is also another vital aspect when you are working on your running routine. The position in which your feet hit the ground can either make you susceptible to shin splints or not. Reduce the stress that you exert on your feet by landing on your midfoot while running. Landing on your toes puts more pressure on your anterior tibialis muscles, which can cause shin splints.
Choose Your Terrain
If you have weak anterior tibialis muscles, running on too rough and hard terrain can put you at a high risk of developing shin splints. It is because running on a hard surface puts more pressure on your bones, muscles, and joints. Try running on softer ground like sandy trails or running tracks. This will be important when you are still training your anterior tibialis muscles to be strong. You can also try running on a treadmill. It is also easy to maintain a good foot posture if you are running on a fairground.
Athletes are susceptible to various types of injuries. Shin splints are one of the common injuries that runners encounter, but that should not be the case. There are techniques that you can use to avoid this type of injury. Before engaging in an intensive running routine, get advice from your physician. Working on your body weight is also another way to prevent shin splints for runners. It reduces the stress that is exerted on your feet’s muscle. So, take what works for you and always listen to what your body is telling you. It is still good to challenge yourself and go the extra mile, but it should not be at the expense of your health.