When they strike, it can be a nightmare. Each step feels like a knife stabbing through your calf muscles and bone. The common cause? Too many miles, too soon. Experts agree that when shin splints strike, you should stop running completely or decrease your training.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation rule in the shin splint fight. But there are other ways to heal your aching legs. Here are some other treatments you can try:
Stretch1 of 8
Kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat.
Also, do your ABCs: In a seated position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg.
If you are healthy now, but prone to developing shin splints, stretch your calves and Achilles at least three times a week as a preventive measure.
Walk it Out2 of 8
Alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat four times.
Cross Train3 of 8
Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike. When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.
Make Use of Compression4 of 8
If you continue running, wrap your leg before you go out. Use either tape, compression sleeves or an Ace bandage, starting just above the ankle and continuing to just below the knee. Keep wrapping your leg until the pain goes away, which usually takes three to six weeks.
Change Your Shoes5 of 8
Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics. Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.
Avoid Hills6 of 8
Stay away from inclines and excessively hard surfaces until shin splint pain goes away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence.
Change Your Terrain7 of 8
If you frequently run on roads with an obvious camber, run out and back on the same side of the road. And try soft surfaces to give your shins a break from constant pounding.