Perhaps the most common injuries among runners, particularly for beginners, are shin splints and stress fractures. Shin splints, which are also called tibial stress syndrome, refer to pain in the shins (tibia), often due to recent changes in frequency and intensity of an individual’s training. They are the result of overworked muscles, tendons, and bone tissue. Stress fractures in the leg are often considered the next step beyond shin splints, as stress fractures occur due to repeated stress on the bones in question. Thus, when a runner has shin splints and continues to run, they are putting themselves at an increased risk of stress fractures.
Both of these injuries are incredibly painful and can stop an individual’s running routine in its tracks if left unchecked. With this in mind, here is a guide on how to avoid shin splints and stress fractures while maintaining a quality running routine.
Stretch And Warm Up
Most trainers and other health professionals, particularly physical therapists and those involved in sports medicine, will cite the importance of warming up before any workout. This even includes running at a leisurely pace! Take ten minutes to stretch before a run to get the blood flowing. Taking off at a run without walking and stretching starts your muscles up from a stiff and cold state, increasing the chances of injury. In addition to pulling a muscle, runners can easily develop shin splints and stress fractures if they repeatedly skip their stretching prior to a run. Ideally, fit in a little bit of walking after the stretching session but before the run. This shouldn’t take longer than five minutes.
Continue reading to learn how footwear runners wear impacts the likelihood of shin splints and stress fractures.