Photo Editor Alex White explains how to prevent and help shin splints
Injuries are of common problems for runners. Personally, shin splints were a big problem in the beginning of training. According to Runner’s World Magazine, shin splints can be characterized by a throbbing pain on either the front or side of the lower portion of the leg and can be felt even while sitting. This is common when new runners increase their weekly mileage too soon and the calf muscles are not yet strong enough.
Shin splints are caused by many things happening at once. When beginning, the body is not used to running and the calf muscles are not used to having to do as much work as they are being asked of. Not having enough time to rest between runs can increase discomfort. Other symptoms include cramping after running, tenderness when pressure is applied to the front part of the shin and a constant discomfort.
Previously, it was thought that running through the pain of shin splints was the only way to get rid of them, but recently that mentality has changed.
When the first feeling of discomfort is present, it is best to take a few extra days off. When possible, wrap the shins in either an ace bandage or a calf compression sleeve and ice the shins for 20 minutes at a time every three to four hours. Include a few exercises, such as, calf raises and toe taps will help build the calf muscles and prevent injury later on.
If running continues, the pain will become worse and could end up making it impossible to run or even cause a stress fracture which takes six to eight weeks to heal. In the long run, cutting back a little bit now will save the calf legs in the long run.