It’s that time here in mid-west, the sun is shining the weather is nice and I’ve headed back outside to run… YAY!! I cannot express how much I LOVE being outside, the fresh air, the open road. However, there are things that come with the transition from inside treadmill running to outside road running. Last year I got really aggravated because inside I could run inside for 45 minutes with no problem but when I transitioned to outside I had a really hard time running for 20 minutes. I was really bothered by it but after talking to some other runners they said the transition is hard, the terrain is different and your body has to build up to the changes. That made me feel better at least it wasn’t just me that was having the hard time. This year I’ve welcomed the transition with open arms and have been ‘building-up’ per say walking more than running and only adding little bits at a time. My biggest issue with transitioning is shin splints. That pesky pain you get in the shin after running so what on earth causes this pain and why?? or what?? should I do about them…
Shin Splints are an acute pain in the shin, the lower leg caused by prolonged running, typically on hard surfaces according to the Google Definitions however that’s a real general definition. After doing some reading I have found some other things that might help you better understand shin splints and how to deal and avoid them.
What exactly are shin splints: This is an inflammation of condition of the front part of the tibia, or the lower leg bone. I can also be on the side of this bone as well. It is usually not a serious condition that needs medical attention. It will come and go in the beginning of your work-out it will be sore and as you continue will subside & then return later after you have cooled down.
Shin splints can be caused by: Strenuous activity with lots of starting and stopping, like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc. Also, running on hard surfaces, differences in terrain, running down hill or on slanted terrain, inappropriate shoes or appropriate shoes that are worn out, increase of activity or intensity of activity.
Can you be more prone to them: Flat feet or Rigid arches you are more prone to getting them as well as if you have osteoporosis you can actually begin to get small fractures in your shin that can become more harmful down the road because of weakening your bones even more.
What are your symptoms: Simple, its hurts! Pain, tenderness or soreness in the lower front of the leg and sides of the leg, can have moderate swelling or numbness in your feet.
What are the treatments: Best treatment is rest however, lower impact activity is usually okay however, if the pain persists, I’d recommend seeing a doctor because you may have a stress fracture or something worse than just shin splints. If your shins swell, you can use ice packs however, I’ve never noticed swelling of any kind with myself.
How to avoid shin splints in the future: Wear proper shoes that are not worn out. If you have rigid arches or flat feet wear insoles that absorb the intensity of the impact. Try to avoid, rough, slanted or hard terrain, increase your intensity gradually & always make sure you warm up and stretch properly before you exercise.
What have I learned?!? I am more prone to shin splints as I have a rigid arch in my foot and I am glad I wear insoles in my tennis shoes, I do believe a newer/better pair of running shoes may be put into the budget sooner than later. My shin splints are not nearly as bad as they could be but I am gradually increasing my intensity mostly because I can not avoid rough/slanted terrain all together.
Happy Running to you!!