Ah, shin splints – the unwelcome visitor that can turn a great run or workout into a painful ordeal. With the temperature cooling, most runners are looking forward to the fall racing season (or at least easier long-run training!)
If you’re an active person, chances are you’ve encountered these pesky lower leg pains at some point. But fear not! There are effective ways to manage and even prevent shin splints. Let’s explore a couple of crucial approaches: wearing the right footwear and easing into exercise.
Your choice of footwear can make all the difference when it comes to preventing and managing shin splints. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can contribute to the development of shin splints and exacerbate existing ones. Here’s what you should consider:
Invest in shoes with adequate support and cushioning, especially in the midsole and heel areas. This will help absorb the shock your feet experience during activities like running or jumping.
Visit a specialized store to get your feet measured and analyzed. Ensure that the shoes fit properly, offering ample space for your toes and a snug fit around the heel and midfoot. Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose. Consider brands like New Balance, Asics, Hoke’s, and Sauconys.
Depending on your arch type (low, normal, or high), you’ll need different levels of arch support. Choose shoes that cater to your specific arch needs for optimal comfort and support.
Don’t hold on to your favorite pair of sneakers for too long. Over time, the cushioning and support diminish. Aim to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6-12 months, depending on your activity level.
Another crucial aspect of managing shin splints is easing into physical activity. Often, overzealous enthusiasm can lead to overexertion and subsequently shin splints. Here’s how you can gradually incorporate exercise to minimize the risk:
Always start with a proper warm-up to prepare your muscles for the upcoming activity. Gentle stretching and dynamic movements can help. After your workout, cool down with some static stretches to aid muscle recovery.
Whether you’re starting a new exercise routine or ramping up an existing one, gradual progression is key. Begin with manageable levels of intensity and duration, then slowly increase them to prevent putting too much strain on your muscles.
Mix up your workouts with a variety of exercises to prevent overuse of certain muscle groups. This not only reduces the risk of shin splints but also keeps your workouts exciting and engaging.
If you start feeling any discomfort or pain in your shins, don’t ignore it. Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. Pushing through pain can lead to more serious injuries. Most shin splints can take a couple weeks to heal up. If you’ve got to keep training, try activities like a stationary bike that offset the pressure applied to your shins.
Shin splints might seem like a formidable opponent, but armed with the right knowledge and approach, you can conquer them! By taking care of your body and respecting its limits, you’ll not only prevent shin splints but also enjoy a fulfilling and pain-free active lifestyle. If you’re worried about shin splints or other foot-related concerns, give us a call at 214-574-WALK(9255). The team at North Texas Foot & Ankle is ready to help!
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