Runners World recently revealed that the number one newbie running injury is shin splints. Chances are, if you have ever played sports in school, you have experienced them at some point in the season. I can distinctly remember the pain of shin splints during preseason in field hockey. The sheer amount of running squeezed into a small amount of time decimated my shins!
What exactly are shin splints?
Shin Splints (medial tibial syndrome) range from minor to major trauma to the fascia of the tibia (lower leg bone). Minor shin splints result in microtrauma to the fascia, but severe shin splints can be caused by complete separation of the fascia from the tibia.
How to Avoid Getting Shin Splints
There are some things you can do to avoid getting shin splints. One of the biggest mistakes beginner runners make is doing too much too soon, and this can definitely result in shin splints. The increased impact can cause tiny tears in the connective tissue that connects the fascia to the tibia, as can using the lower legs too much. Many beginning runners push-off with their toes– over-stressing their lower legs.
Shin splints can also be caused by running in old shoes (little to no shock absorption left), heel striking, excessive treadmill running, running on a cambered road, too much downhill running, and other factors.
How can you avoid getting shin splints?
Try not to ramp up your mileage too quickly. Avoid heel striking–they are a number of great resources for working on your running form. The same goes for avoiding running on your toes. You also want to make sure you invest in a decent pair of running shoes that can help absorb some of the shock from running on hard surfaces.
Have you ever had shin splints?