Whoâ€™s at risk?
Shinsplints are common among new runners and those returning after an extended lay-off. They’re a sign that you’ve done too much too quickly. Shinsplints strike runners wearing the wrong shoe or a pair with too many kilometres, and those with high arches or flat feet.
Can you run through it?
When the first twinges of pain strike, back off your running to a comfortable level for a few days to a week, then slowly up your mileage using the 10% rule – no more than a 10% increase per week). Bike, pool-run, and swim.
Rest, ice, and ibuprofen can ease the pain. Though conventional wisdom has preached calf stretching as a way to rehabilitate shinsplints, there’s little evidence that helps. Taping the shin with Kinesio Tex tape can relieve pain and speed healing. Wearing an air-cast ankle brace throughout the day, even while running, can speed recovery. These braces stabilise the ankle so the shin muscles don’t have to work so hard to support your leg.
Prevent a relapse
The easiest and best way to avoid shinsplints is to increase mileage gradually. Make sure you are in an appropriate shoe. Beginners, especially, can benefit from professional help at a speciality running shop. If you have high arches, you may need a cushioned shoe. Or if you have flat feet, a rigid shoe might be the solution.
Once or twice a month, jump into a game of touch rugby or soccer. The lateral movement uses your muscles differently than running in one direction. It’s helps manage shinsplints.