Why Do I Keep Getting Shin Splints While Running?

Why Do I Keep Getting Shin Splints While Running?

It’s typical for running to raise your endorphins and leave you feeling great. However, lately you’ve been plagued by bouts of shin splints. Running has become painful, and you’ve had to take big breaks in your exercise routine. 

Why is this happening, and what can you do to prevent shin splints in the future?

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, treat many patients who have shin splints

We provide a prompt diagnosis and expert treatment to bring your legs back to their normal condition and allow you to enjoy your sport. We also focus on prevention. You can take steps to prevent future cases of shin splints.  

What causes shin splints? 

If you have shin splints, you have pain along the edge of your tibia, the large leg bone that connects your knee joint to your ankle joint. The condition can develop when the tibia comes under stress, such as from activities like running and jumping. 

Shin splints are a common ailment of runners and basketball players. A high-impact sport like running places repeated stress on the soft tissue in your lower leg as you pound the pavement. Consequently, your shin bone can become inflamed. 

When you continue running and placing heavy pressure on the legs, shin splints worsen and require longer periods of rest before they heal. 

Treatment for shin splints

Shin splints can heal with conservative treatment. Rest, ice, and pain relievers help. Get your vitamin D checked to be sure your level is adequate. 

If you don’t already have them, we recommend custom orthotics if you over- or under-pronate or have low arches or flat feet. Physical therapy is helpful if your pain is severe. 

How to prevent shin splints 

If you have shin splints, you don’t want a repeat occurrence. Following are tips to keep your legs healthy and avoid the inflammation of shin splints. 

Make sure you warm up 

Always warm up before you run. Warming up prepares your muscles and soft tissue for more intense exercise, increasing flexibility and helping to prevent injury. 

Stretching is essential before you run. Some examples of great stretches for runners are forward and side lunges, bent knee swings, and lateral straight leg swings. 

Increase activity slowly

Have you recently increased the amount you run, either for longer periods or more frequently? You can get shin splints from increasing your activity level too much all at once. Follow the 10% rule. Don’t increase your activity level more than 10% each week. 

Change your shoes every 300 miles 

Have you examined your shoes lately? If they have an uneven wear pattern or have lost cushioning, it’s past time to replace them. Shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles

Purchase shoes at a shoe store that focuses on running, and have the salesperson help you select a shoe that supports your foot. 

Consider orthotics 

If you have low arches or flat feet, custom orthotics may help you by relieving the stress on your legs. They help correct faulty biomechanics in your gait and provide extra support for your legs. 

Cross-train and take days off 

Cross-training helps prevent injuries. Biking, swimming, strength training and Pilates are all great choices. Strength training is especially important in building muscle strength and endurance. 

Are you allowing your legs to take a rest? It’s important to take rest days if you’re a runner. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment online if you have pain from shin splints and for all of your musculoskeletal concerns. 


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