Preventing Shin Splints
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How to Prevent Shin Splints
A shin splint, which is also known as tibial stress syndrome, refers to a painful shin injury that may occur due to overexerted muscles in the lower legs, having flat feet, an increased body mass index (BMI), or a stress fracture.
Runners, dancers, basketball players, and military personnel frequently suffer from shin splints.
Although risk factors such as engaging in certain activities (e.g., jogging, military training, playing basketball) increase the risk of experiencing shin splints, there are a number of strategies that help prevent this type of injury from occurring.
Let’s take a closer look at a few useful strategies.
Wear Shoes That Offer Proper Support
Fitness shoes or boots that keep the foot leveled during movement, but also decrease excessive flexing of the arches in the feet, reduce pressure on the shins during activity. Therefore, active individuals have to ensure that they are wearing shoes that fit properly and provide the right amount of support for the arch of the foot. Boots worn by military personnel are designed for those who spend long hours on their feet and protect the ankle and foot from the hazards of military training and active duty. The key thing is to pick the appropriate shoe best matched for your main activity, particularly if you experienced foot or lower leg pain in the past. In addition, the use of shock-absorbing insoles has been shown to lower the incidence of shin splints.
Warm Up and Perform Dynamic Stretching
After warming up, dynamic stretches should be performed as this allows muscles to begin to gently engage in a full range of motion. Dynamic stretching involves controlled movements that actively lengthen the muscles and improve overall flexibility and preparedness for activity.
Research shows that the combination of a warm up and dynamic stretching helps reduce injuries and increases the range of motion in the joints. However, static stretching should be avoided as this slows down the muscle firing rate before the activity even begins, instead of working it up to speed. Dynamic stretches that are beneficial for the legs and may be quite useful for runners, dancers, military personnel, etc., include leg pendulums, the jog to quad stretch, the plantar flexor stretch, and front lunges. Another important point to remember is that if intense, sharp pain starts to develop in the shins during exercise, the activity should be discontinued if pain free movement can’t be re-established quickly. Try taking a brief rest to do some mobility work or stretching and see if your activity can be resumed.
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