Running with shin splints can be a difficult thing to imagine since the nagging pain it gives is so annoying that it leads you to change the training regime altogether. The beginners’ enthusiasm lands them into the wrong zone of injuries as they increase the volume, frequency, and intensity all at the same time. Many other reasons can cause shin splints and can be made well with many remedies.
We are going to explore it all for you if you are wondering how to run with shin splints and if it would be a good decision.
- 1 Know about shin splints
- 2 People at risk of shin splints
- 3 Causes of running shin splints
- 4 Symptoms of running with shin splints
- 5 Prevention measures
- 6 Treatment
- 7 Exercises for running with shin splints
- 8 Strengthening stretches
- 9 Time to call the doctor
- 10 Deciding about running with shin splints
- 11 Conclusion
Know about shin splints
‘Shin splints’ is the name given to the pain that you feel at the front portion of the lower leg which is the shin bone. It is also understood as the injury of the lower leg muscles caused due to overuse leading to small tears. The bone tissues, tendons, and muscles around the shin area get inflamed and cause pain thereby.
Clinics also call this condition with the name of medial tibial stress syndrome. This is, however, the worst version of shin splints where the bone and its tissues get injured.
This is a cumulative disorder resulting due to constant stress and pounding on the joints, bones, and muscles of the lower leg. The lower leg from the ankle to knee feels a nagging pain during or after exercising and when pressure is put on the area.
People at risk of shin splints
Beginners, athletes, or anybody who engages in high-intensity physical activities that are largely based on feet and leg movements are most prone to shin splints. It’s a combination of a lot of factors that make you susceptible to shin risk and let us point out some factors if you think can you run with shin splints -
- Wearing improper footwear like a misfit or torn shoes for the workouts activities
- Anatomical abnormalities like flat foot syndrome, overpronation
- Low flexibility
- Wrong training techniques
- Weak muscles of the buttocks and thighs
- Running downhill
- Running on rough surfaces or terrains
- Running on slanted surfaces
- Playing sports that have rapid transition phases like soccer and others
- General low fitness
Causes of running shin splints
The shin splints are one of the very notorious injuries which make running almost impossible. There is no single reason that can be blamed for it.
Symptoms of running with shin splints
These events will help you know if the pain in your leg is due to shin splints-
- Pain during exercising
- Pain in the area surrounding the shinbone
- Paining muscles
- Faint pain in the frontal portion of the lower leg or inner portion too
- Inner portion of the lower leg feels tender or sore
- Lower leg swollen
- Feet feel numb and weak
- Pressing the inflamed area gives pain
- Severe pain during the start of running that fades away later as the muscles warm and loosen up
- Pain fades away after rest
The pain that doesn’t subside at all points towards severe shin splints or stress fracture in the shin bone.
We are going to give you some preventive measures that you can undertake to either stop them from happening or re-surfacing:
Shin splints cause utter discomfort and tingling sensations. To ease the pain, you can try several things and we will begin by telling you some home treatment solutions before you try to decide can I run with shin splints.
Now if these things are not helping your pain, then you must try other clinical treatments that will be suggested by your doctor. Some of them would be:
Exercises for running with shin splints
As it’s been already established, several exercises can help you to get relief from the shin pain and also prevent it from returning in the future. These exercises focus on the activation of the core, hips, and leg muscles. You only need to dedicate 15 minutes for these.
Low lunging ankle stretching
Begin with lunging posture of right foot at the front and left knee backward. Keep the right heel flattened as you draw the right knee to the front and do this till you feel a stretch in the right calf. Hold for a minute and repeat with the other side.
Start with a forearm plank position. Keep the forearms firm on the surface and draw the elbows harshly towards the heels till you feel the tension in the body. Hold for 45 sec and do two more reps.
Controlling the body, lift the heels to the maximum extent, and then bring them down. Do 25 reps and three sets.
Single leg balancing
Stand straight and firm while you draw the right knee towards the chest. Upon balancing right, hold till you feel fatigued in the left foot bottom.
Stand straight at any edge with toes hanging out of the ledge. Balance at any wall and extend the toes as far as you can while keeping only the heels on the edge. Pull the right foot toes up towards the shins to max limit and hold for few seconds.
Release slow and do the same with the other side. Do 12 reps and 2-3 sets.
Stretching gives nice pain relief and is important both as prevention and cure. Let’s see some such exercises you can try.
With an exercise band
Tie one end to any heavy object and then loop the other to your foot end. Move this foot up-down and also side-side away from the resistance of the band. This activates various muscle groups.
Tibialis muscle stretch (anterior)
Sit on the feet with toes pointed inwards and hands-on the front over the floor. Lean forwards and then raise the body while resting on the toes. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Stand straight and then lift your foot front while the heels stay firm on the floor. Hold till its comfortable and then slowly come back to normal position.
Foot step hold
As the name suggests, you have to take a stride and then hold the front step in the few cms above the floor. Slowly return to normal. Do 10 reps and three sets.
Time to call the doctor
If the home remedies or exercising doesn’t give any positive results, then you must take medical help. The emergence or persistence of several conditions can be the alarm for you to visit a medical expert like-
- Severe shin pain post any accident or fall
- Hot sensations over the shin and red patches
- Visible swelling on the shin that is worsening
- Pain even during the rest and after common treatment
- Unsure if the pain is due to shin splints
Some medical conditions that are similar to shin splints might also occur and only medical diagnosis can help you to know them-
- Low blood flow in legs
- Muscle hernia
- Nerve issue
- Blood clotting due to exertion
- Stress fractures
Deciding about running with shin splints
If you ask us that can I run with shin splint, we would say a straight NO. It is because this will only worsen the damage and you will have to undergo more severe pain. The worst that can follow is a stress fracture or other conditions as we described above.
The injury is prolonged if it doesn’t get enough time to recover and can prove detrimental to your sports career at last. There is no exact time for recovery and depends upon the cause of injury and individual body processes.
If you really want to run though, first wrap the affected area with a KT tape or Ace bandage (watch this video). Take all the necessary precautions. Look for these healing signs first in the affected leg-
- Return of flexibility
- Can jump, sprint, and jog without pain
- Hard spots are no more painful
- Return of strength
Once you have recovered, it is always wise to return slowly. Self-check your shin if it’s still tender and do hopping to know if it would be right for you to run. Be considerate of your goals, medical history, injury experience, body condition, and the running volume.
That was all! We hope that the information we provided will help you with a better diagnosis of the cause and treatment for shin splints. This way you will make a wiser decision if running with shin splints is going to work for you or not.