Being a runner myself, competing in multiple marathons, half marathons and now more recently triathlons, I have always battled with shin pain, or more commonly known as ‘shin splints’.
It can be very frustrating to finally get on top of your training, want to increase your running each week whether it be to run a faster time, for weight loss or just get a bigger hit of those addictive post run endorphins, and all of a sudden, you have to stop training due to that annoying pain in your shins that WONT go away.
After years of trying to find the perfect remedy or quick fix so I don’t miss training sessions and can keep on top of my fitness all year round, I have come up with 6 top tips that can really help get on top of that niggly shin pain.
1. Progress slow
Increasing your training volume more than 5-10% each week can increase the risk of you developing shin pain significantly. Start low and slowly build your way into it so your body has a chance to adapt.
2. Cross training
To maintain fitness, in particular while your beginning to build your tolerance to those weekly kms, giving your shins a break and conditioning other parts of your body that can also aid in your running performance can be very helpful. I have found cycling and swimming very helpful not only for rest from pounding the pavement, but also in building a good aerobic fitness.
3. GYM and strength work
It’s not all about the running, research suggests that strength training can increase your endurance performance as well as increasing the capacity of your muscles / tendons and bones to absorb force and reduce injury risk. A variety of exercises for glutes/ calves/ quads and your feet are all very helpful for long term reductions in shin pain.
4. Running Technique
Certain running techniques can make you more susceptible to developing overuse injuries like shin pain. Pay attention to your running technique as there are very important factors can increase the likelihood of shin pain developing.
5. Appropriate training
Speed sessions, hill repeats, long runs, all have the potential to increase the likelihood of developing shin pain. Scheduling your training year and training sessions so your body is able to adapt between sessions, as well as scheduling rest days is a great way to be able to run without pain for longer.
A number of physiotherapy treatment modalities can help relieve pain and help you get back running quicker than before. Manual treatment, dry needling, strapping, massage to name a few.
If you are battling with dreaded shin splints, and to find out more about how to get rid of these annoying injuries click here to book an appointment or call us on (07) 5578 7155.
by Tim Rigby, Physiotherapist, BSpSc, DPhty.