What Are Shin Splints?
If the spring weather has you ready to hit the ground running, you might want to learn how to prevent one of the most common running injuries: shin splints. Also called medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are common, and new runners are at the highest risk. You can prevent shin splints by adding PowerStep® PULSE® running insoles to your shoes along with these other tips.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin splints are a result of repetitive stress to the bones, muscles, and ligaments in your lower legs. Heavy physical activity and high impact sports like running or soccer are common causes of this type of overuse injury. Other contributing factors include:
- Running on hard or uneven surfaces
- Having incorrect form
- Overpronation or supination while running
- Wearing ill-fitting, worn, or unsupportive shoes
- Running with flat feet or high arches
- Sudden changes in physical activity like an increase in frequency, duration, or intensity
Though shin splints are one of the common beginner workout injuries, even experienced runners are at risk. Shin splints feel like a sharp or dull and throbbing pain in front of the lower leg area. Sometimes accompanied by minor swelling, this pain can last days to weeks depending on severity.
Treating shin splints involves resting, using ice packs, taking pain relievers, and making necessary changes to your training routine. If you want to get rid of shin splints fast, consider wearing compression sleeves for shin splints like PowerStep compression socks. They help reduce swelling and speed up your recovery time by increasing circulation to the lower leg for faster healing.
Why You Shouldn't Run with Shin Splints
Can you run with shin splints? Technically, yes. Should you? No, you should not run with shin splints.
Running with shin splints can aggravate the injury, making it worse, which can both damage your performance and may result in a stress fracture. If you get shin splints, you should take time off running until the pain has been gone for at least a week.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
Tired of shin splints and other injuries interrupting your new fitness routine? Learn how to prevent shin splints when running by using a combination of tactics from changing up the activities you do to wearing the proper gear. Here’s how to get rid of shin splints and keep them from coming back:
Don’t Overdo It
Like runner’s knee, shin splints often occur when runners or athletes push their bodies too hard, too fast. Instead, gradually increase your mileage and speed and give yourself enough time to rest between runs. If you’re doing speedwork, listen to your body and avoid running through the pain of shin splints.
Wear the Right Shoes
Running shoes that don’t fit, lack support, or have lost cushioning overtime can lead to running injuries. Replace your shoes every 350 to 500 miles or as soon as they begin to feel uncomfortable. The best running shoes support your arch, provide shock absorption, and stabilize your ankle.
Use Running Insoles
For the best way to prevent shin splints, add a running shoe insole to your running shoes. PowerStep PULSE performance insoles and ¾ athletic insoles for low-profile shoes like cleats are the best insoles for shin splints. They help stabilize your foot and ankle, absorb shock on impact, and provide arch support to take stress off your lower legs, preventing injury and relieving pain.
Overpronation and supination while running causes the front leg muscles to work harder. Runners who overpronate, have flat feet, or have high arches should use running insoles made for their arch type. Both PowerStep PULSE Maxx and insoles for high arches can help.
Consider Cross Training
Incorporating low impact activities into your routine can help prevent shin splints and work other muscle groups. Exercises like yoga, swimming, and cycling are a few ways to stay active. You might also try strength training exercises to strengthen the muscle groups that support your lower legs.
Take a Day Off
If you’re just starting a workout routine or training for your first 5k, avoid running two days in a row. Taking rest days to either fully rest or attempt a different activity gives your body time to recover. Experienced runners, on the other hand, need only one day off a week from running.
Stretch your Calves
Every runner knows the benefits of stretching before and after a workout. Tight calves can easily lead to shin splints, so you should perform calf stretches prior to your run and after to prevent strain or tearing. Add these 7 daily stretches to your warmup routine to improve foot health and prevent injury.
Hit the Trail or Treadmill
Running on asphalt or concrete puts excess stress on your joints, muscles, and bones. This can make shin pain worse. Running on softer surfaces may be easier on your body and legs. If you have the right shoes, consider trail running for some fresh spring air or, on colder days, opt for the treadmill rather than braving the cold.
Check your Form
If you’re a new runner, your form might be messing up your performance. Avoid heel striking or running on your toes as this might lead to injuries like heel spurs, metatarsalgia, and shin splints. Instead, try to land mid sole as you run and push off with your toes. For help, talk to a running coach or visit a specialty running store.
PowerStep PULSE: The Best Insoles for Shin Splints
Designed by runners for runners, PowerStep PULSE running insoles are the best insoles for relieving and preventing pain. Whether you’re a newbie, an ultramarathoner, or a cross training athlete, wearing PULSE insoles can reduce the impact on your joints and add to the efficiency of your stride, which may boost performance and prevent injuries like shin splints.