What Causes Shin Splints and How Do You Prevent Them?

What Causes Shin Splints and How Do You Prevent Them? 

If you’re an athlete, you’ve probably experienced the pain of shin splints at least once. Extremely common in runners, shin splints can be a debilitating injury for active people. Luckily, there are some ways to prevent these lower leg pains and keep your training regimen on track.

What causes shin splints?

According to the Mayo Clinic, shin splints are known as medial tibial stress syndrome - inflammation of the tissues and muscles in your shin. This swelling is most often caused by overwork and results in the tenderness and pain along the inside of your shinbone. Shin splints are most commonly caused by poor footwear, skipping warmups, running on unforgiving surfaces, or weakness elsewhere in the legs.

Woman running on a trail.

How to treat shin splints

If you’re feeling the dull, achy pain of shin splints in one or both of your legs, you might be overdoing it in your training. This pain will persist if ignored, so scale down your activity and try lower impact cross-training while you rest your injury. Reduce swelling with NSAIDs and ice to reduce the pain. Once your shin splints subside, take steps to prevent repeating the painful process by adjusting your training habits and taking a look at your footwear.

How to prevent shin splints

If you struggle with shin splints (or if you’re trying to avoid getting them), the best way to do so is to take things slow. Ease into new training routines or activities, and always warm up with some light movement and stretching before an intense workout. Take care of your feet next: try supportive insoles or a new shoe to give your arches more support and take the pressure off your shinbone. For a firm compression sock to assist in supporting your arch, shop the ASPIRE™ line. Taller cuff heights also support blood circulation and reduce fatigue. Always run on a shock-absorbing surface, and opt for a shoe with more cushion if you tend to run on pavement. Try our most cushioned sock, MAXUS™ to help absorb impact and give you the feeling of running on clouds.

Woman bending down and touching her toes on a running path.

Lastly, strengthen the ankle and hip with body weight exercises to reduce any weakness in your stride. The fastest way to heal shin splints is to never have them in the first place, so these adjustments are certainly worth the effort.

Healing from shin splints can be a slow and grueling process; prevent them before they start with these tips. Your legs will thank you.