Proper Running Form for Shin Splints

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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises, Proper Running Form

    Check running form, try to run on softer surfaces, maybe buy new shoes, ice for 15-20 min, strengthen anterior tibialis, and write the alphabet with your ankles. I may be missing something, but these are the main things I have done along with appropriate stretching.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Proper Running Form
      Improved
      Ice, Massage, Supportive Shoes, Stretching

    I tried different shoes, foam rolling, icing, calf stretching. What eventually helped for me was switching to forefoot/midfoot striking. Even just try it for a couple minutes, it is an immense relief. But it's pretty risky to make that big of a change in gait in a short period of time.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Supportive Shoes
      Improved
      Ice, Rest, Compression, Proper Running Form

    I'm not saying that minimalist shoes get rid of shin splints, but my personal experience was that my shin splints went away when I switched to them, and they haven't come back even as I transitioned back to more cushioned shoes a few years ago.

    I started running in 06, developed pretty debilitating shin splints by late 07 and over the next year went to several different specialty running stores to get fitted for more and more cushioned (and expensive) shoes. My shin splints got worse. I tried ice baths, compression wraps, trying to change my stride, dramatically cutting back my running volume, etc.

    In 08 I read a post on Reddit making fun of the way VFFs looked and saw a few comments by people saying they had fixed their shin splints. By that point I was desperate and willing to try anything. Bought a pair (cheapest running shoes I ever bought until I discovered cross country shoes years later) and within three months my shin splints were gone. The only time they ever came back was when I misplaced them a year later and did a brisk 7 miles in an old pair of aggressively cushioned shoes.

    I have no idea how or why it worked, or if it will work for other people. I do know that:
    The VFFs were extremely punishing to me as a heel striker and I quickly became a mid-foot striker.

    My pace slowed down considerably when I transitioned, as my feet were now the most sore part of my running anatomy and took a while to acclimate.

    My volume decreased significantly at first, for the same reason.

    I have long since stopped running in VFFs, switching to progressively less minimalist shoes as the years have gone by, though I do still trail run in cross country shoes. I think I've found that for me personally the less toe drop in the shoe the better, but about 8 to 10 mm of cushion is pretty nice for those long road runs.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Massage, Rest, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Proper Running Form

    I've never been to a PT or any professional for my shin splints. I did go to podiatrist shortly after one occurrence but for an unrelated injury. What I found that helped me was to completely change my shoes to a zero drop shoe, focus on running on the balls of my feet rather than heel striking, stretching out my calves, foam rolling my shins after each and every run, and possibly the most important, taking the time to heal before trying again. During my research of shin splints and my own experience, it's usually always a muscle imbalance, bad form, and too much intensity. Certain arches makes you more likely to develop shin splints.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Rest, Stretching, Proper Running Form

    Forefoot running helped me with shin splints. Do stretches that focus on the shin area before and after the workout if they get worse, only after if you can deal with them. or in the worst case situation like mine was, just take a coke bottle put water in it and freeze it and put it under the shin when you watch tv or something, this should help you with the pain + the stretches. just take time off from running, i took a 2 week break till i could run again and never had problems with the shin splints again, still had the same fitness as before, just felt a little bit more hard to breath, but that wasn't really a big problem and got quickly back on track.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Massage, Stretching, Other, Proper Running Form

    Other than eliminating "heel strike" (running on your heels) there are a few things that are really helpful. I run track and got shin splints a little over a year ago and the only things I have found to really help with the pain is ice messages and KT tape. If you can get your hands on any disposable paper cups fill them with water (not all the way full) and put them in the freezer (I like to make 12 or so ata time). Then after every run, take one out, rip off the bottom, and message the area of pain. It really helps to push deep with the ice making sure to message the muscle. Additionally, if you drop by any CVS you can pick up KT Tape which is an emmnse help with pain. The company's website has instructions for how to apply the tape for your area of pain. Just note that shin splints comes in two flavors- low and high (depending on the are if your shin that has the pain) so apply which ever method is for you. Lastly, stretching out your calves is really important and I would recommend getting a roller (google "the stick").


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Strengthening Exercises, Proper Running Form

    A runner I looked up to told me three big points that have helped me with shin splints. 1. Run lightly. Almost tip toe and land on the balls of your feet. Form is crucial. Listen to the noise you're making. It shouldn't be very loud and there should be no dragging. 2. Exercise and stretch. Stretch your calves by propping your feet against a wall, fence, post whatever and leaning forward keeping your legs straight. Another is push against an object focusing on keeping your feet flat on the ground far behind you. Stretch your shins (this works best barefoot) by pointing your toes into the ground and rolling them to point back. Another is sitting down and pointing your toes forward and reaching out. 3. Keep your lower legs strong. This may sound like common sense or it might sound weird. But do your calf raises and range of motion work. Something he told me is lay a small towel (a dish towel works great) on the ground and stand on one end and pull it in with your toes. Repeat a few times.
    Also keep up with your shoes. It's expensive but it's the most important piece of equipment. Barefoot/minimalist shoes are increasing popularity. In my opinion this is a good thing. It is more natural. I like Brooks and Saucony but one shoe does not fit all especially when it comes to running shoes. Ask an expert at the store. Hope this helps! Keep running


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Other
      Not Improved
      Physical Therapy, Orthotics, Supportive Shoes, Proper Running Form

    Seriously consider acupuncture. I was a cross country runner all through high school and after I graduated I joined the military which required more running. I had chronic shin splints the entire time. I changed shoes, had my gait analyzed, had physical therapy, even had custom orthodic inserts made and nothing worked. Researched acupuncture and was skeptical, but to my complete surprise they were gone after two treatments. Don't know how or why but that was 3 years ago and haven't had them since.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Supplements, Proper Running Form

    I'm only in High school but I've been running for 5 years:
    Fix your running form, land mid foot, not on your heal.
    Get proper running shoes
    Stretch more often
    Get more calcium; I drink milk all the time because I use to have tons of issues with shin splints/stress fractures, no issues anymore.
    Ice your shins


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Massage, Rest, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Proper Running Form
    • Reevaluate your running form. Are you striking on your heel? Try to hit the ground more evenly to attempt to strike more on your forefoot.
    • Running store --> Gait analysis --> New shoes, maybe inserts
    • Stretch stretch stretch. Try and improve your ankle mobility and strength. Before and after runs try and write the alphabet in the air with your toes to stretch your ankles out. Stand on a step with your feet partially over the edge and move your feet up and down, if you have shin splints this will hurt, but it will make your muscles stronger.
    • Ice your shins and calves
    • Rest
    • Get off the treadmill. Run outside in varied terrain where every single pace won't hit the same parts of your legs over and over again, as on a treadmill
    • Foam roll your shins and calves

    Source: Used to have shin splints, this is all the advice I found online and got from my doctor. Did all these things, no longer have shin splints.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Ice, Massage, Stretching, Proper Running Form

    Number one for me: taking shorter strides. Running form was the start and end to my shin splints. Once I figured out that I needed to take shorter strides, my shin splints disappeared almost entirely. With stretches and rolling and icing, they don't bother me at all.


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  • 08
    Apr2016

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Proper Running Form
      Improved
      Supportive Shoes

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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Proper Running Form

    I really, really struggled with shin splints. I could barely run without my shins feeling like they would just fall apart or break off or something.

    What changed for me: I changed the way I ran. I made sure my feet were running straight as opposed to turned in or turned out (like in ballet). Before running, I would run in place with high knees then slowly go forward, then gradually get faster. I also shortened my strides but also had more strides.

    It's really, really made a difference and I don't get shin splints anymore. I went from not being able to run for like a minute (it'd get bad really fast) to being able to run a mile and a half (and possibly more; I didn't try) without feeling pain.

    I was told I needed some stabilizer and when I tried on the shoes, they just felt so heavy and uncomfortable on my feet (and they were the ugliest things I had ever seen; like a rainbow threw up on the shoe). I bought running shoes, but minimalist ones.

    Look on youtube for running videos / running form vids.
    Tidbit: I also don't stretch until after, though I do a warm-up prior to running. No foam roller or anything for me. Nothing hurts anymore!


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Strengthening Exercises, Proper Running Form

    Toe taps to strengthen the muscles in the shin did it for me. My old roomate swore by them and they worked wonders. He used to do them by leaning back against a wall, putting his feet about a foot away from the wall and just tapping away. I used to do them at work while seated at my desk and that did it.

    My shin splints were caused by running on hard surfaces and poor running form (I would heel strike really hard when i would get tired while running).


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Strengthening Exercises, Proper Running Form

    My experience is that shoes simply don't matter.I haven't tried Hokas but for years I got shin splints when I ran regardless of which shoe I selected.
    Things that anecdotally helped me:
    To raises
    heel walks
    abiding by the 10% rule
    landing my feet under my hips (form)
    I lost 20 pounds
    FWIW when I finally got to the point that I was running 45mpw without shin splints I was doing it in minimalist shoes. I've run in both minimalist and non minimalist shoes since then and they haven't come back but I've maintained the four things I listed above.


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  • 29
    Dec2015
    • Injury Status Cured
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Proper Running Form

    My opinion, in my own experience only, is that most of shin splints are caused by:
    overtraining (too much efford or too many hours)
    bad training (for instance, running 5K at 80% of your Max, when you should do it at 50%).
    bad running positions

    It's not the shoe but the way you run.

    I've had pretty bad shin splints until I started practicing slower runs (MAF) and these techniques: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRkeBVMQSgg

    There were other videos (and better quality than that too) but those guys know what they are talking about, also look for gliders vs gazelles. Summary: lean a bit forward, keep your shoulders and head up, hit the ground with mid-front foot strikes, not the heel strikes.

    Since january, I've been recovering from shint splints, but running 60-80 kms per week!. How so? Not shoes, but running better, slower, and more naturally instead of hitting the ground with my heels like a crazy person :D

    PS: I ran 10K in december at 4:55m/km and I just ran 26K at 4:36m/km last weekend. Without much problem, really.


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  • 29
    Dec2015