In PART 1 of our Shin Splints series, we took a look at the anatomy associated with medial tibial stress syndrome as well as the factors that make runners especially susceptible to them, namely the repetitive nature of running compounded by most cases typically doing too much too soon.
Here in PART 2, we are going to look at self-care options as well as some considerations for preventing repeate episodes of shin splints so that you can keep running and training for your goal races.
SELF CARE OPTIONS FOR MTSS-SHIN SPLINTS
Self Myofacial Release - 4 Ways To Care For Your Shin Splint Pain
Pre-Running Warm-Up For Shin Splints
Training Modifications, Gear Suggestions, & Other Prevention Considerations
Form, Cadence, & Ground Contact Time:
This is a tricky subject, honestly I’m not sure why I even mentioned it. One can go miles down the form training rabbit hole and come out the other side worse they they were before. However, I do want to mention three things that must be considered and worked into your training plan to help prevent shin splints and make you a more efficient and faster runner.
The ground fights back! The more time we spend in contact with the ground, the harder this battle will be. I’m not here to talk about heel-striking, forefoot running, etc., but I will mention cadence. The higher your cadence, the less time your foot spends on the ground. Meaning, the less ground reactive forces you absorb and the less stress on your body.
Again, I’m not here to correct form. But I do believe we can all be more efficient. Strength training helps us become more efficient for those later stages of the race. Please add strength training to your program, it is extremely useful.
Alter your surfaces. Don’t always pound the pavement. The track and trails are your friend…and your feet will thank you for it.
Shoes are something I get asked about frequently. My honest answer is this, ‘We have more shoe technology and selection than ever…we also have more injuries than ever.’ Take that for what it is worth but I do believe shoes should be rotated and changed frequently. I suggest a 2-3 pair rotation, avoid running in the same pair two days in a row, and switching out for a new pair every 200-300 miles depending on the shoe.
Warm-Up & Cool-Down:
This is SO BIG. In every injury we encounter and talk about, how you warm-up (if at all) and cool-down has a direct impact on your injury risk, and recovery speed from injury. Warming up prepares your body for the task ahead, giving it the best chance to avoid injury. Colling down helps work out those tight spots after training while encouraging faster recovery.
Dr. Reheisse is a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician practicing in Cottonwood Heights Utah. Revive Sport & Spine provides evidence-supported chiropractic care and conservative sports injury management.