Shin Splints and How to Prevent Them
posted by Dr. Carlson | April 18, 2018
Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), can be a painful condition in the legs. While this condition can be caused by various activities, a high percentage of shin splints are related to running injuries for runners who put in long distances and/or frequent running sessions. The condition is usually characterized as pain down the length of your shin bone. Here are some basics on the causes of shin splint development, plus some training strategies to help avoid them.
There is no specific cause of shin splints, but medical professionals do have an idea of some of the most common things that can lead to them, including:
In addition, there are several risk factors that have been linked with shin splints:
Now let’s look at a few strategy areas to help avoid shin splints when possible.
Proper foot support can go a long way toward preventing shin splints and other common running injuries. Your feet need support for their arches, plus cushioning and durable materials that can stand up to repeated wear and tear. Older or less supportive shoes may provide less support, leading to higher injury risk.
Certain types of shoes may also come with less arch support or lead to poor running form. If you struggle to find the proper support with your shoe alone, consider custom orthotics or other insoles that might help – a foot specialist or an orthopedic doctor may be able to help.
Stretching certain muscles and areas can help prevent the onset of shin splints:
In addition to stretching, doing what are called dynamic warmup programs can help decrease injury rates in several areas, including shin splints. One such program is called the FIFA 11+, which has shown to decrease injury rates in many cases. This program includes stabilizing the core, moving the thighs, proprioceptive exercises, and alignment and stabilization areas. It requires very little equipment beyond a soccer ball, with simple movements.
A few other areas to consider when it comes to keeping shin splints at bay:
Your doctor can offer further recommendations for avoiding or treating shin splints.
I treat people of all ages in my practice—kids, athletes, adults and retirees––and enjoy being able to understand people’s unique situations in order to help them recover.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.