Today marks the one-month countdown to the LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler! Two of our Every Woman Bloggers bloggers, Crissie Kirby and Lara Winburn, have been hard at work training for the race.
When runners increase their training, many are affected by shin splints. In fact, shin splits is the topic of our next training question, from Crissie, for Health Directions Wellness Coordinator, Amanda Castles.
Crissie: My shins give me a terrible fit. What is the best way to prevent and treat shin splints?
Amanda: Shin splints are very common among runners and often occur when your training routine has recently become more intense. With increased activity, the muscle, tendons, and bone in your shin may become overworked. This is what causes you to experience pain along your shinbone. The good news is that most cases of shin splints can be treated with rest, ice, and other self-care measures.
Here are some tips to help you prevent and/or treat your shin splints:
1. Make sure that you are wearing proper running shoes for your feet specifically. Running shoes are designed to support the arches of your feet (whether you have flat feet, medium or high arches) and the mechanics of your running motion (taking into consideration which direction your foot rolls as you run as well as which part of your foot strikes the ground). If you need help determining the best pair of running shoes for you, local stores such as Strictly Running and Fleet Feet can help you find the best fit for your needs. Running in shoes that are not worn out and provide proper support for your feet is key to preventing shin splints.
2. Avoid running hills while your shin splints are causing pain.
3. Stretch your calf muscles. You can see a calf stretch demonstrated in our Heart and Sole training video of stretches. You may find it beneficial to stretch your calves before and after your training run. Just remember to do your warm-up before stretching as we do not want to stretch cold muscles!
4. While sitting, trace the alphabet with your toes. Be sure to perform this activity on both legs. You can do this particular activity several times per day.
5. Icing your shins will help to reduce the inflammation. You should ice for 15-20 minutes at a time and you can do this 2-3 times per day.
6. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can also help to reduce the inflammation and any pain you may be experiencing as a result of your shin splints.
7. You may find that you need to scale back the time or distance that you are logging with your training runs for a little while. Avoid the activities that cause you pain, but don’t give up all physical activity. Try other low-impact exercises like swimming or biking so that you can stay active.
Leave a comment to let us know how your own training is going or to leave a word of encouragement for Crissie and Lara!