It's a new year and new resolutions have been made! Mine is to run the Cooper River Bridge Run in April. The training has started and so has some pain in my lower leg. Many of us have experienced shin splints before but do we really know how to prevent them from happening?
Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), refers to pain in the shins - the front lower legs. It is an inflammatory condition of the front part of the tibia. The pain is brought on by strenuous activity, more commonly in stop-start sports such as squash, tennis or basketball. Running too much on hard surfaces is also a common cause of shin splints.
Exerting excessive pressure on the lower leg muscles or excessive impact on the muscle can the pain to develop.The main cause of shin splints is too much force on the shin bone and connective tissues that attach the bone to surrounding muscle. The excessive force is usually caused by:
How can you avoid the pain?
Finally, here are some quick exercises to help strengthen the muscles in the lower leg
Toe raises are a good starting point when looking to strengthen the shin muscles. Start with only a few repetitions and gradually increase the numbers.
To strengthen all of the lower leg muscles, perform calf raises. These can initially be performed both legs together before being progressed to single leg only.
Walking the length of a room either on the toes or on the heels will help to strengthen the calf and shin muscles respectively. Make sure you do this slowly and under complete control.
As always, we are here to help with any questions regarding shin splints or any other pains you may be feeling while training for your 1st or 10th run!