≡ Menu

Shin Splints – The Jogger’s / Runners Woe

Hi again. Yes, I will be covering that most pesky of troubles that has at one time or another plagued almost every jogger and runner. If you are a newbie, then chances are you will run into shin splints earlier than later. We start out enthusiastically, overdo things a little bit (read increasing our workout duration, intensity and frequency too quickly), and then start the shin pains that seem to linger on or disappear to return back repeatedly.

Shin splints are a common condition amongst runners/joggers or anyone doing star jumps and the like. When the shin is repeatedly made to bear the weight of downward force, the pounding causes the frontal tibia (shinbone) to experience stress. The medical term for shin splints is Medial Tibial Syndrome.

Though shin splints can be tided over in the short run by taking painkillers, applying topical analgesic creams, putting an icepack over the affected area and rest etc, you will need to get a long-term handle on it if you do not want to face this condition repeatedly. Shin splints have a nasty habit of leaving you for a while only to return back once exertive workouts begin. It can be very disappointing for an enthusiastic and/or a serious jogger/runner. The way around it is to do specific exercises to strengthen the shinbones and the support muscles around it. Here’s one type of exercise that can do the magic:

1. Find a Step. Stand facing away from this Step.

2. Place the heel of the affected leg on the Step in such a way that only the heel is on the Step and the rest of the foot is hanging over the Step ledge.

3. Hold on to a chair/wall or railing for balance.

4. Now, flex your toes up towards your shin as much as you possibly can.

5. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.

6. Release and lower your toes back to dangling over the ledge position.

7. Wait for 10 seconds and repeat.

This procedure (Steps 1-7) may be repeated 10 times every day to strengthen the muscles supporting the shin during activity. However, if the shins are experiencing splints or pain due to inadequate calcium intake, you should increase your calcium intake through food or supplements. It is thus important to get a consultation for shin pain or any condition with a doctor first to get to the right diagnosis and cause of the condition before attempting to fix it. Until next week, safe training…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kathy March 18, 2009, 4:36 am

    Great post! I have been lucky to avoid these, but have had issues with ITBS so know the frustration an injured runner feels. Yuck!

  • Jenna K March 18, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Thanks for posting this article! I don’t think most running enthusiasts take shin splints as seriously as they should. Unfortunately, I also did not take my repeating shin pains seriously when I was running 3+ miles on a 2 to 5 times a week basis. I ended up with a pretty serious tibia stress fracture, which put me out of the gym for a good 2 months. After 3 weeks of daily icing, calcium supplements and Aleve, the stress fracture is finally healing. However, I have yet to return to running due to my fear of breaking the bone. Every time I attempted to run I experience an excruciating pain in my shin area, which guides me to believe I have weeks to go until I can get back on the treadmill.

    Lesson learned here – being overly enthusiastic about running has it’s major downsides.

  • Jeremy April 18, 2009, 7:10 pm

    This way may help in reducing the aches, but anyone who tries this must be extremely careful to balance themselves. It might cause serious sprains if anyone slips while doing this.

    I suggest some one seated in an upright position on a well supported chair, lift the legs off the ground a little and slowly flex your feet towards and away from the shins.

    However, the best remedy is to see a doctor if the problem persists. Cheers to running!