How to Prevent Shin Splints

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Summer weather is finally starting to show and with that, means being more outdoors and active. With warmer weather people start running more and participating in more races / marathons. One of the most common questions we as trainers get during this time of the year is about running injuries and injury prevention, the big one being “shin splints.”

“Shin Splints” also known as exercise related leg pain or ERLP, is pain and discomfort in the leg from repetitive running on hard surfaces or forcible excessive use of the foot flexors. This pain typically intensifies at the initiation of the exercise session, may subside during exercise, and resolves with rest.

There are multiple factors believed to contribute to the development of “shin splints” and can be broken down into two factors: 1) Intrinsic (factors contained within a person) and 2) Extrinsic (factors outside or a person i.e. their environment). The intrinsic factors include an age greater than 24 years, a high BMI, poor physical fitness as measured by a 1 or 2 mile timed run, and a past history of injury. Extrinsic factors include training volume / surfaces, types of shoes, and sport activities. This was especially true with running and jumping sports.

There are many different ways thought to help reduce / or relieve the pain of “shin splints” and they include: relative rest, cross training, stretching, icing and bracing, foot orthotics, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. However, the most supported treatment is the use of eccentric training.


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