As much as I dislike running, I’ll be the first to admit that running is a great tool for proper physical fitness. Any weekend warrior or marathon runner will tell you that shin splints will bring your running regimen to a screeching halt.
The technical term for shin splints is, medial tibial stress syndrome. This syndrome is an overuse injury. Research shows that up to 20% of the population suffers from this injury.
Here are 4 steps to take, to ensure that shin splints do not creep into your training regimen.
INCREASE YOUR MILEAGE SLOWLY
If you are like me, you go all out when you do something. Don’t do that with running! It will bite you in the butt! This isn’t a golden rule by any means but many people aim to add no more than 10% per week, to their total weekly mileage. Increasing your miles slowly will allow your body and musculoskeletal system to adapt to the new rigors of pavement pounding.
CHANGE YOUR SHOES
Most likely you’ve been wearing the same running shoes for years. Ok, maybe it’s just me. You got me! When I started running, my running shoes were in commission for at least 1 year. I realized very quickly that the shock absorption in my shoes caused by my overweight body was lacking. I needed new shoes fast! Running shoes should be replaced every 300 – 500 miles or about every 6 months. This will decrease the amount of stress on your joints by keeping them safe with the new cushion.
DIVERSIFY YOUR TRAINING
Remember medial tibial stress syndrome or shin splints are an overuse injury. If all you are doing all-day, every day is crushing the concrete, then you are asking for injury. Instead, try to vary your training by incorporating a more low impact exercise like swimming. Water activities can be a great alternative to running and give your body a break from the high impact your joints are taking.
Have you ever rolled the bottoms of your feet with a tennis ball? If your answer is no, drop what you are doing right now and do it. You’ll thank me later. Foam rolling your legs, massaging the bottoms of your feet, and stretching your calf muscles are important as they aid to reduce the tension in your leg muscles.
These 4 keys should help you effectively manage any stress to your legs that you may encounter when trying to pound the pavement.
What other techniques do you use to effectively manage your lower extremities?