Dealing with Shin Splints

Runner’s Shin Splints
Shin splints, also referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome or tibial pain syndrome, is a term for pain in the front or inner part of the lower leg. Shin splints are one of the most common sports injuries and can develop in everyone from recreational runners to high school soccer, basketball and tennis players.
Shin splints can involve inflamed muscles, tendons, and the thin layer of tissue that covers the bone. Although painful enough to knock you to the sidelines for a while, most cases of shin splints can be effectively treated.
Causes
Shin splints happen when constant pounding and stress are placed on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower leg. The result is irritation and inflammation, both of which cause pain.  Repetitive bouts of inflammation lead to adhesions, shortening of the muscle, and a pulling on muscle from the perisosteum (skin of bone).  Continued abuse and lack of recovery can lead to severe pain or stress fractures.
Factors that contribute to shin splints that may exacerbate or make worse are as follows:
Insufficient Arch Support or Arch Strength
As your running shoes wear down, the arch support tends to flatten out, impairing their ability to properly absorb shock. Both shoe problems, combined with flat feet, poor running mechanics, and overuse aggravate the tissues of the lower leg.

Flat feet, rigid arches, and over-pronation
These mechanical malfunctions can cause pressure to be distributed unevenly on the lower legs.  Many people naturally have flat feet and rigid arches and over-pronation, a condition where the ankles roll inward upon impact, and while they are painful, they can be corrected by easily by orthotics and a weight distribution analysis.

Running Form/Foot Strike Direction
Several types of running forms or improper forms may contribute to shin splints or make one more prone to shin splint.  You may want to have a gait analysis or run with a partner and check for the following: Heel striking with associated over-pronation, the foot striking with external rotation (toes pointing out, like a duck), one leg crossing over the center line, and weak hip stabilizers on one side.

Foot Biomechanics
These mechanical malfunctions can cause pressure to be distributed unevenly on t

Sudden increase in training or insufficient recovery
Anytime you increase training frequency, duration, or intensity more than than 10 percent a week, there is a risk of injury, including shin splints.

Exercising on hard surfaces or Running Downhills
This places extra stress on the leg, which can cause inflammation. When you run downhill, your foot impacts the ground in a way that your toes are pointing down.  This puts additional stress on the muscles on the front of your shin, rather than distributing weight evenly through your foot.




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