Saturday, 20 May 2017

Cure for Shin Splints Pain

I enjoy my daily morning run for the perfect start it offers my day, but the recurring problem of shin splints had almost forced me to give up. 

If you google search "Shin splints pain" you will find a lot of information from relatively credible sources like webMD. However, most of the information that I came across on the internet did not really help, for instance one of the posts suggested that I run on soft running surfaces like grass, another suggested that I keep my posture absolutely straight during the run and land my foot on the front half of the foot. I persisted with these theories/recommendations for a while but none of them worked for me and the pain inevitably came back.


One of the reasons cited for shin splints is weak calf and hip muscles due to which the strain caused by the foot hitting the ground falls directly on the shin (Tibia) muscles. I believe this to be true since I have even observed the difference between my calf muscles (size & shape) and of runners who don't suffer from this problem (can't observe hip muscles without being labeled as a pervert, so left that out😀) .The following routines have helped me so far in avoiding the pain from shin splints while still enjoying my morning run.
Calf stretch (30 sec, 2 reps each foot)


Ensure that you warm up before the run by doing the necessary stretches for your calf and hip muscles. The one that I do before and right after the run is to push the front half of my foot inwards and hold that for upto 30 seconds for each foot, I repeat this twice. I also stretch my hip and thigh muscles with some easy stretch exercises

Remember to repeat the same stretches once you are done with your run.

Another stretch exercise (5 reps,
breathe in when you stretch up
and breathe out when touching toes)


In order to build calf strength I use the technique displayed in the video. All you need is a stair and some support to balance yourself during the exercise. I generally do 25 reps x 3 times for each foot.
You can also do other variations to build calf strength like standing straight and raising your heels by supporting the weight on your toes and then resting back, try this while holding weights for better results.


Leg raises, hold for a brief second on top for better results

In order to build hip strength I use a simple floor exercise described in the image below, it requires you to lay down on one side with one of your hands resting your head. Then raise the top leg as far towards the ceiling as you can and hold for a brief second before bringing it down. I generally do 25 reps * 2 times for each leg. Again there are multiple variations of this exercise and your can find some suggestions here.


As one goes through the above routines it is important to bear in mind the following:
  • Don't do these strengthening exercises just before a run.
  • Do these strengthening exercises regularly (if not daily).
  • It takes time to build these muscles so don't rush into your run after a couple of days, I suggest atleast a weak of strengthening before venturing for a run.
  • Once you resume running, build distance gradually.
  • Posture is really important, so keep you back straight (eyes focussed on the horizon) and always land on the front half of your foot.
  • Your muscles react better if they are trained regularly, so try to be regular, even a 20 min morning run can do wonders.
In a separate post I will share how I used a simple technique to shed 8 kilos over the last 6 months.

Note: I am not an expert, I am just sharing my experiences based on my specific conditions, you should ideally consult a physiotherapist or a sports medicine specialist before trying any of this.

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