5 expert tips to prevent shin splints while running

October 13, 2015

Running is great exercise. It boosts your cardiovascular endurance and burns calories at a fast pace. You can do it anywhere, any time and the only equipment you need is a pair of running shoes. But, the constant impact of your feet against the ground can lead to painful shin splints.
Here are five ways to prevent shin splints when you run.

5 expert tips to prevent shin splints while running

1. Keep your shoes in shape

Worn out running shoes are a major reason for shin splints.

As you shoes wear out, they wear unevenly since your footfalls will wear down some parts of the sole more than others. In particular, if your steps roll out, your shoes will too. That can cause shin splints.

Most runners need to replace shoes about every two to three months.

2. Avoid concrete

If you can, run on dirt or trails. Pavement pounding is much harder on your body and your shins.

If you have to run on pavement sometimes, try to find pavement that's at least even, like a bike trail, rather than a rough sidewalk.

3. Always warm up and cool down

Make sure you do a light warm-up before every run. Exactly what that is depends on what you need.

Some runners like to do some light jogging before they start. Others prefer active stretching or more aerobic exercises like jumping jacks. Whatever you choose to do, spend at least 5 to 10 minutes before your run warming up.

Then, when you're done, take the same amount of time to stretch and relax your muscles. Stretching should focus on the muscles running works the most — your quads and calves.

And, whenever you're stretching, make sure to hold each stretch rather than bouncing in and out of them.

4. Cross train

The repetitive motion of running can easily over-train some muscle groups while under-working others.

To help balance things out, look for and practice exercises that strengthen your calves. Doing so can help prevent shin splints.

5. Don't ignore shin pain

If you start to feel shin pain while running, take a day or two off.

Also, make sure you ice your shins and follow the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol.

Then, when you return to running, be careful and start slow — you might not be able to jump right back into your routine.

Fantastic lifelong exercise

Running is fantastic exercise, and with good warm up and cool down habits, most runners can continue to run most of their lives.

What's more, if you follow these five tips you should be able to avoid shin splints.

Just remember to not overdo it when you're just starting to run. And, keep your running consistent — making it routine can help prevent injuries in general, as well as shin splints.

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