Prevent Shin Splints
because who needs that pain?
The best way to cure shin pain is to Prevent Shin Splints BEFORE they happen.
If you are active now and don't have shin pain when you jog or run, then you probably don't need to worry about it.
This page is for you if you either don't have any shin pain but want to avoid it in the future (Smart!).
The activities of preventing shin splints not only helps you avoid them, but can also help you cure shin splints.
There is some overlap and some similarity.
If you already have Shin Splints, visit the
Shin Splints Treatment page.
If you don't, you'll still be visiting that page at some point here.
Prevent Shin Splints -- An Overview of the Injury You Want to Avoid
It is important to understand the
Process of Inflammation
Pain Causing Dynamic
so you will know all the downsides that you are trying to prevent and avoid.
Shin Splints are not the same kind of injury as, say, stepping on a nail.
Shin Splints are a type of
As such, it follows the same pattern, and is preventable.
First you get some wear and tear damage from something like running, then Inflammation and the Pain Causing Dynamic kick in.
The damage is not so much the problem as the mechanisms the body kicks in to deal with it.
Damage heals quickly, but it heals less structurally strong than pre-injury. So you have a structure that now damages more easily, and chronic Inflammation and chronic Pain Causing Dynamic.
And you want to continue to jog, run, exercise, etc without pain.
You should do that.
Lots of people run and never get shin splints.
Lots of people run A LOT and never get shin splints.
You want to be one of them.
But never fear. If you do start to get some shin splint pain, it's simple to deal with.
Prevent Shin Splints -- Avoid Damage
Do you want to know how to avoid shin splints?
The best way to avoid a
injury like Shin Splints is to avoid the original damage. It doesn't take much to prevent shin splints.
There are various ways to do this.
Something like 70% of the U.S. population lives in a state of chronic dehydration.
Milk, Coffee, Juice, Soda, Beer, and caffeinated Tea DON'T count as keeping yourself hydrated.
Even if you think you drink enough water, you probably don't.
Especially if you are active. Drink more water and make sure you get enough minerals, sodium, and electrolytes to keep the water you drink in you.
Imagine that you are a big sponge. The wetter and squishier you are, the more resistant you are to injury, for many, many reasons.
Drink more water.
Support and Padding for your Feet
Make sure you have proper footwear, whatever your activity is.
If you are a runner, make sure you have the best possible running shoes for shin splints. Well, for the avoidance of shin splints, and other running problems.
Again with the sponge analogy. If you can bounce and squish (conceptually and certainly literaly), and that includes your foot structure -and- your shoe while you are being active, this will help a lot.
As opposed to being dry and crunchy and slamming down on the pavement.
Stay relaxed mentally and physically.
The tighter your muscles are, the less they can 'flow'. The more you and your shins flow, the less you 'jolt' violently.
There is a big difference between
Rest and Relaxation.
You never see little kids give themselves shin splints.
Small children run relaxed, and have fun.
Granted, they also don't run marathons.
My point is, if you tighten up mentally, your muscles will also tighten up.
And when you are running, your muscles are working over and over. The tighter they get, the less circulation/oxygen/fuel they will get, the less happy they will become, and the more the nervous system will start thinking it has to protect you.
You definitely want to keep all that from happening if you want to prevent shin splints.
One way to do that is to....
Keep your muscles lengthened by Stretching
Yep. Good ol' stretching.
There is a lot of stretching you -should- be doing on a daily basis. As we all should.
Specifically for Anterior Shin Splints, there is one stretch that will benefit you the most.
I trust the picture is self-explanatory.
Do this stretch before and after being active. Or at least, on a daily basis if you are concerned about shin splint prevention.
I suggest that you spend time in this position as you watch tv, work on your lap top, meditate, etc.
If you can't get into this position, start on your hands and knees and slowly work back into the position.
If it hurts, back off and don't stay there.
If you do, your nervous system will start tightening up to protect you from being overstretched.
Stretching and pain should NOT go together!
You want to avoid too much tone, too much tightness, at all costs.
And if this little girl can do it and smile, you can too:)
Skilled Massage Therapy
Working with a skilled massage therapist can help ensure that you never get shin splints (If you have shin splints, they can help you cure shin splints)
If they aren't so skilled, well, even a bad massage is a good massage.
Just some rubby rubby on your shins will help keep them relaxed and healthy.
But a SKILLED massage therapist can work with the structure and mechanics of your body to keep your shins healthy, stop shin splints in their tracks, and reverse shin splints if you do have/get them.
Prevent Shin Splints -- Treat Your Shins As If You Have Shin Splints
I'm guessing that you want to know how to prevent shin splints because you perform some activity that you worry could cause shin splint injury.
Directly Before You Exercise
Before you exercise, make sure you Warm Up.
This means walk around for a bit. Do the stretch shown above. Maybe rub or pound on your shins with your fists.
Remember, you're a sponge. Make sure you're mobile and squishy before you go demanding a lot of your structure.
It's worth it to put out the effort to prevent shin splints. It takes much less effort than getting rid of them.
After You Exercise
After you exercise, visit the
Shin Splints Treatment page
and do what I suggest you do there.
If you aren't in pain, you won't need to do as much of it. But definitely do some Ice Dipping or at a minimum an Ice Pack while you kick back on the couch or going to bed.
Only YOU can prevent Shin Splints.
I promise it takes MUCH less effort than getting them in the first place.
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