My Shins Hurt When I Run
“I’ve had shin splints before (and I’m pretty sure they were caused by me). They hurt like hell! The worst part was that it took a long time to heal them up. It wasn’t until about a month later when my shins healed enough for running again. And even then, I had to be extra careful because if I didn’t take care of myself, there could have been more damage done down the road. So what exactly are shin splints?
Shin Splint FAQs
What causes shin splints?
Shin splints occur when you overload your leg muscles, tendons, or your shin bone itself. Overload can happen through heavy weightlifting, dancing, sprinting, jumping rope, or just doing something repetitively without giving your body time to rest. There’s no specific way to prevent shin splints, but there are ways to avoid overusing your shins.
When should I stop running?
If you’re experiencing pain while running, you need to talk to a doctor. A sprained ankle isn’t as bad as a pulled muscle, which aren’t as bad as a broken bone, so don’t run away thinking you’ll be fine on your own. If you have any doubts at all, see a professional medical expert.
How do I treat shin splints?
Treatment depends on how severe the injury is. You can ice your shins to reduce inflammation and swelling. Don’t put anything directly on the skin since this will cause further irritation. Use bandages or tape to keep the area clean and dry.
For more serious injuries, apply ice packs twice daily for 10 minutes each session. For milder injuries, you may only want to use one pack per day. Take ibuprofen or aspirin for pain relief.
Keep your feet elevated above your heart to allow blood flow back into your foot and toes. Rest it! Avoid walking around, standing for extended periods of time, and try to stand upright rather than leaning forward.
Do stretching exercises after exercising to give yourself a break. Make sure you stretch out your calf, hamstrings, and quadriceps. These muscles help support the load during workouts.
Take warm showers or baths instead of cold ones. Cold water constricts tissues, causing more pain. Heat opens up capillaries for better circulation.
Ice, heat, compression, elevation, rest, and stretching are some helpful tips for treating shin splints.
What happens if I ignore shin splints?
Ignoring shin splints can lead to worse problems. Your bones won’t grow together properly, and scar tissue will form between them. This leads to osteoarthritis (degeneration) in the joints along your shins.
So how does shin splint affect performance?
A lot of people think their shin splints will hinder their ability to perform well in sports. But actually, shin splints shouldn’t slow you down. In fact, most athletes who suffer from shin splints recover quickly and return to play within two weeks.
Some athletes think that the longer they wait before returning to play, the less chance they have of getting injured again. However, many studies show that athletes who delay treatment end up having more problems with shin splints and knee, hip and other joint issues. Athletes who opt not to treat their shin splints also have higher chances of developing arthritis in their knees.
So what should I do?
Seek professional medical attention immediately if you experience pain while running. Shin splints usually go away on their own in 2-3 weeks, but if you leave untreated, you risk missing out on future athletic opportunities.
What should I eat or drink to relieve shin splints?
Drink plenty of fluids. Try to stay away from alcohol and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or soda.
Try taking vitamin E capsules every day. Vitamin E helps to repair damaged cells and strengthen connective tissues.
To relieve pain from shin splints, soak your affected shins in Epsom salts bathwater mixed with 1 cup vinegar. Put 3 tablespoons of salt in the tub and add boiling water. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then wash your shins off with soap and water.
This mixture has the following ingredients:
Epsom Salts contain magnesium sulfate. Magnesium hydroxide sulfate makes up the majority of Epsom salts, making it effective against shin splints.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which works as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Salt hydrates the skin and promotes healing. Vinegar aids in removing dead skin cells and bacteria.
Warm water removes dirt and debris from your skin.
Why do I sometimes find that my socks become wet from sweat?
Sweat ducts open near your hair follicles, allowing perspiration to evaporate naturally. On hot days, these ducts might close temporarily due to excess moisture. Sweating can also occur under certain clothing fabrics, especially synthetic materials made of nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon, or blends. To avoid dampness buildups, wear breathable cotton underwear.
But what if your shoes aren’t breathable?
Many shoe manufacturers now offer special fabric liners inside closed shoes to breathe. These liners absorb moisture and odor-causing chemicals. Some companies call these “”breathables.”” Look for words like “”sweatproof,”” “”odor resistant,”” or “”breathable”” on product labels.
Another option: Wicking socks. Wicks pull moisture away from your feet to eliminate dampness buildup. Plus, wicking material pulls sweat toward the outer surface where it evaporates faster.
Finally, consider using antiperspirant deodorants. Antiperspirants work by plugging sweat ducts. Since sweat ducts open right next to your hair follicles, applying an antiperspirant in these areas can effectively block sweat from reaching the bottom of your socks.
Can I ever go barefoot?
Yes and No. Going barefoot is good for your health and gives you more control over your movements. But it’s important to note that going barefoot puts excessive pressure on your feet. That means you’d probably want to make sure your shoes are comfortable and supportive before you hit the pavement. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your feet.
There are also risks associated with going barefoot outdoors, such as stepping on glass, sharp objects, and animal feces. Also beware of uneven surfaces that pose danger to your feet.
For example, if you’re hiking in rocky terrain, wearing boots provides stability and shock absorption. Without proper protection, your feet would feel everything from jolting rocks to sharp pebbles.
On top of that, you might encounter slippery conditions, such as moss, mud, snow, or sand. Even though you might think you’re being safe by going barefoot, in reality, you could easily slip and fall.
In addition, you must consider the weather. While it might seem smart to go barefoot during a nice sunny day, remember that rain can come down fast. You wouldn’t want to get caught with wet shoes and no umbrella.
That’s why it’s best to choose shoes specifically designed for outdoor activities. Besides providing stability and durability, these shoes should have waterproof soles.
Also, look for shoes labeled as “”water repellent”” or “”water proof.”” These types of shoes feature rubber bottoms and mesh uppers, plus a lining and sock system to protect your feet from moisture.
Are there any other things I should know about preventing shin splints?
Yes! Here are three quick tips to follow:
1. Warm up thoroughly before starting any physical activity.
2. Start slowly and gradually increase distance and speed.
3. Stretch before and after working out.
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of shin splints, here’s something else to think about…
Running Shoes 101
The first thing you notice when looking at a pair of running shoes is the tread pattern. Running shoe tread patterns differ based upon the type of runner — whether you run primarily on paved roads, gravel paths, or trails. Other factors include the length of the stride, the amount of heel lift, the flexibility of the shoes’ construction, the thickness of the sole, etc.
As for the actual tread pattern, there are several different styles:
Open Heel Geometry – This is the most common tread design. Open heels are commonly found on trail running shoes.
Cushioned Midsole – This is the second most popular style. Cushioned midsole designs have an arch underneath the base of the shoe.
Minimalist Design – Minimalist shoes have very thin soles and little padding. These shoes create a smooth transition from the ground to the ball of the foot.
Basketball shoe – Basketball shoes have raised side lugs or ridges to provide traction on basketball courts.
Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned athlete, take a few moments to read our running shoe guide. We hope it helps answer some questions about buying the perfect pair of running shoes.
Most running experts agree that the ideal running shoe fits snugly against the foot to promote natural movement and stability. Therefore”
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