Shin Splints; how you can prevent them while running

One injury we commonly see a lot more for physiotherapy in the summer is shin splints, and it’s no wonder we have some beautiful trail in Kingston. Everyone wants to get outside get into shape and the one exercise you don’t need equipment for is running.

BUT then you start to get this pain in the front of you shin and it derails you a bit and its pretty de-motivating. So how would physiotherapy being to help??

What is it?

  • Shin splints are a pain in the front of the shin that be on either side of your tibia (which is the bone you can feel right at the front of your shin.)

What Causes them? 

  • Well it depends but its usually due to trying to a new sport or activity that has a good deal of running involved
  • Heel striking
    • This isn’t to say heel striking while you run is a problem but it can be when you over reach 
    • This mean overtime you run you over reach with your foot and it sends impact up your leg and into the muscle around your shin
  • This causes the muscles around your tibia to have to work much harder and cause that discomfort around your shin

So how can we fix it?

  • If you’re going to physiotherapy the first thing they should do is get to hop on a treadmill to see how you’re running
    • If it is caused by a combination of over striding and heel striking its actually a fairly easy fix with some running mechanic changes
  • The second variable is running volume
    • Believe me we’re all for people getting into shape but we have to make sure that you’re doing it in a safe and efficient way
    • So the second variable is volume this really means how many kilometres you’re running in a week or hours of whatever specific sport you’re playing
    • A pretty common thing we see is that the warm weather comes back and people go from not playing any sport to doing hours of it and it can just be a little to much on the joints
    • So when we talk about overall volume we need to build up to it instead of jumping in right away

Volume; What does this look like in practice?

  • Whether you’re running or playing a sport when we talk volume its the amount of time doing that particular sport 
  • So we need to build into that here is what it would look like from a purely running perspective

Week 1

Monday 20-30min walk/run (higher intensity)

Wednesday 30-40 min walk/run (Moderate intensity)

Friday 40-50 min walk/run (low Intensity)

Week 2

Monday 25 – 35min walk/run (higher intensity)

Wednesday 35-45 min walk/run (Moderate intensity)

Friday 45-55 min walk/run (low Intensity)

  • So the two big points to take away from this are that you can see how that every week we’re trying to add in a little more running
  • The other is that we’re playing around with the intensity which we’re running at
    • Monday is a higher intensity run meaning you’re going faster and shorter
    • Wednesday is a nice moderate run with an intermediate distance and time
    • Friday is low and slow it’ll be further but slower and at point you can even walk a bit

If you are experiencing shin splints give us a call and we’d be more than happy to help you. We also have another article here about how to run to avoid shin splints. 

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Christina Prevett