Shin splints are preventable, however—in fact, most of the time they occur due to overuse, when people's minds are beyond what their body is capable of performing.
While all this may sound dire, there is an upside: Certain exercises can help prevent and treat shin splints.
Trail or Grass Running1 of 6
Pounding unforgiving pavement can take its toll. While not everyone has the luxury of running regularly on trails or a golf course, any little bit will help. Softer surface equals a happier body.
Squats2 of 6
Squatting is a must. There are no exceptions for age, sex, experience, novice or Olympic champ—no one gets a hall pass when it comes to this often-dreaded pastime. But remember: Incorrect squats are bad for your knees. Squats will strengthen your entire body and help reduce any muscle imbalances you may be experiencing.
To correctly perform a squat, place the barbell on your upper back and take a step out of the rack or place a pair of dumbbells on your shoulders. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart and point your toes out about 30 degrees. Tighten your entire torso before you descend, and push your butt back and down while keeping your knees over your toes. Squat down low enough so your hip crease goes below your knee. Next, drive your hips up toward the ceiling. Remember to keep your eyes looking down; this will help you drive your hips up and back into the starting position.
2-3 sets, 3-5 reps.
Band Exercises3 of 6
No, this doesn't mean shredding some guitar with your friends in your garage. Grab a resistance band and loop it around your foot. Pull your extended foot back towards your shin (dorsiflexion), then point your toes away from you (plantar flexion).
3-5 sets, 12-15 reps.
Clamshells4 of 6
You can do this exercise with or without resistance. Lie on your side with your knees bent around 45 degrees. If you are going to use a band, loop it around both legs and put it just above your knees. While keeping your feet together, raise your upper leg and knee as high as you can without affecting the alignment of your pelvis. Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
8-12 reps, 2-3 sets on each side.
Lacrosse Ball Lower Leg and Foot Rollout5 of 6
This is an easy exercise to do if you have shin splits or if you're just trying to prevent issues. Grab a lacrosse ball or tennis ball and start rolling it up and down both sides of your shin and your entire foot. Two to three minutes each side will be more than enough.