Say Goodbye to Shin Splints: Your Ultimate Guide
Shin splints are an all-too-common injury for runners, you may know it well. But do you really know what they are? How it happens? And how to stop them from reoccurring?
Today’s blog answers these questions for you. To understand shin splints, we need to also understand the anatomy of your lower leg.
Shin splints really is quite a vague term for shin pain. This pain is caused when stress has been placed on the muscles – causing an inflammation in the tissues that connect your muscles to your tibia bone There are several muscles around the shin, but the main one to focus on that is probably causing the most trouble in the Tibialis Anterior (tib anterior), as seen below:
This muscle runs from the knee, all the way down to the front of the foot; its main function is to lift the foot up away from the ground.
This is where the importance of your foot position when running comes into the picture. Where your foot lands are each stride can be a huge stressor on the tib anterior and be causing you reoccurring pain.
The most likely reason a runner has developed shin splints, and the focus of today’s video, is an overreliance on heel striking. This simply means that you are landing on your heels as your run. The problem is that with this foot position, your toes are pointed too far upward off the ground, and your tib anterior muscles must pull your foot upward too far. This is stressing that muscle with every step your take.
For the long term, focusing on your running technique is the only solution. By working on your running form and adjusting where your foot lands, you can significantly reduce the risk of shin splints and prevent their reoccurrence. Shifting away from the habit of heel striking and instead adopting a midfoot or forefoot landing technique can make a world of difference. It will allow the impact to be absorbed more efficiently by your calf muscles and reducing the strain on the tibialis anterior. This adjustment might feel unfamiliar at first, but over time, it will become natural and help alleviate the stress on your shins.