Avoid one of running’s most awkward and persistent injuries by following our preventative steps.
Every triathlete spends many hours running on roads, and repeated exposure to hard surfaces can lead to an injury that all athletes fear – the dreaded shin splints. Symptoms include pain over the inside lower half of the shin, swelling, redness, lumps and bumps on the inside of the shin bone and pain at the beginning of exercise that eases off as you go.
Uncomfortable, persistent and notoriously awkward to treat, the best way to combat shin splints is to take every precaution to ensure that you don’t suffer from them in the first place.
Four ways to prevent shin splints
- Wear the right running shoes. If you find you get shin splints it could be because they’re too supportive and bulky or they’re not supportive enough. See a podiatrist to see if this is the root of the problem.
- Train off road. Running on grass and trails stops your foot slapping down as heavily as it will on road. This puts your tibialis posterior (the deepest calf muscle that supports your foot arch) under less strain.
- You should also try to strengthen calf muscles. You can do this through simple, gentle exercises like walking up and down hills, walking on your toes, on your heels and with your feet turned in and then out.
- Be sensible when increasing your training. It’s widely advised that you don’t increase your total running distance by more than 10% each week. More than that and you risk overworking muscles.