Shin splints, also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), are a common place in many athletes’ lives. This is a typical injury seen in many sports, but has been more commonly associated with running.
Many contributing factors can cause you to feel this pain or discomfort. It can be from overuse, worn-out shoes, inefficiencies in biomechanics (overpronation, flat feet, tight lower leg muscles, poor running form and technique), or stress fractures running along the bone. The only way to find out if there are stress fractures along the bone is to see a doctor and have the bone x-rayed.
In my opinion, the main cause of shin splints is overuse. Excessive running, exercises that involve running on uneven surfaces (trail running), hard surfaces (concrete), uphill and downhill running, lead greatly to this condition.
Biomechanics play a large part in contracting shin splints as well! Flat-feet leads to overpronation. Overpronation is when the foot and ankle roll repeatedly inward while walking, running, or jumping. This inward rolling action causes the muscles in the lower leg to be overstretched.
Phewww…..!!! That’s alot of jargon! If you are still awake at this point…read on!
I am not telling you that you should stop running or training, but you should be aware of what your body tells you and evaluate your training protocol. Have one of the trainers evaluate your technique and training curriculum if you run outside of the gym. If you are running 50+ miles a week and not training for a half-marathon/marathon, you just might be over trained. Also, preventative maintenance is key to avoiding this kind of injury.
Things you can do to help prevent shin splints are: getting a proper warm-up before exercising (dynamic movements that mimic the workload or get the blood flowing to the working muscles that you are going to exercise), static stretching the lower leg muscles after exercising, and icing the front of the shin to reduce inflammation (also done after exercising).