This is a repeat of a post I had on this site last summer – BUT I decided to get it up here earlier for all of you to read. Shin Splints and become an issue for runners in cross country and you must do whatever it takes to prevent them or keeping them under control. There are also many excellent articles on stretching and rehabilitation for shin splints – simply Google it and you will have all the literature you could ask for.

1. Your shoes shouldn’t be to old. <———— can’t repeat this enough !!!!!!

2. Make sure your shoe the right type for your foot.

3. Cross train (swim, bike) if you can.

4. Run on softer ground like hard spoil, grass, track. Not as much road running.

5. Look at different wraps and treatments for your shins. ICE is always first thing.

6. Strengthen your shin muscles with exercises. Walk on heels around your house and before workouts. Walk up stairs on your toes. Do leg raises by standing straight up and pushing up and down slowly on your toes.

7. stretch hard before and after practice. Especially the calf muscles !

Treatment of shin splints
Experts agree that when shin splints strike you should stop running completely or decrease your training depending on the extent and duration of pain. Then, as a first step, ice your shin to reduce inflammation. Here are some other treatments you can try:

Gently stretch your Achilles if you have medial shin splints, and your calves if you have anterior shin splints. Also, try this stretch for your shins: Kneel on a carpeted floor, legs and feet together and toes pointed directly back. Then slowly sit back onto your calves and heels, pushing your ankles into the floor until you feel tension in the muscles of your shin. Hold for 10 to 12 seconds, relax and repeat.

In a sitting position, trace the alphabet on the floor with your toes. Do this with each leg. Or alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with 30 seconds of regular walking. Repeat four times. These exercises are good for both recovery and prevention. Try to do them three times a day.

If you continue running, wrap your leg before you go out. Use either tape or an Ace bandage, starting just above the ankle and continuing to just below the knee. Keep wrapping your leg until the pain goes away, which usually takes three to six weeks. “What you’re doing is binding the tendons up against the shaft of the shin to prevent stress,” Laps says.

Consider cross-training for a while to let your shin heal. Swim, run in the pool or ride a bike.

When you return to running, increase your mileage slowly, no more than 10 percent weekly.

Make sure you wear the correct running shoes for your foot type specifically, overpronators should wear motion-control shoes. Severe overpronators may need orthotics.
Have two pairs of shoes and alternate wearing them to vary the stresses on your legs.

Avoid hills and excessively hard surfaces until shin pain goes away completely, then re-introduce them gradually to prevent a recurrence.

If you frequently run on roads with an obvious camber, run out and back on the same side of the road. Likewise, when running on a track, switch directions.

If you are prone to developing shin splints, stretch your calves and Achilles regularly as a preventive measure.

****Added material from a Runners World article (February 2016)****

4 Exercises To Prevent Shin Splints

You don’t think about your shins until they hurt. And by then, you could be looking at some major downtime. – By Caitlin Carlson

A recent study found that it takes, on average, 71 days to rehab shin splints. Shin splints (the term for pain that occurs on the front outside part of the lower leg) often occurs when your legs are overworked. That’s sometimes from a jump in mileage. And sometimes because your shins pick up the slack for body parts that are weak, says Dr Susan Joy, a sports and exercise medicine physician.

Protect yourself by strengthening your feet, ankles, calves, and hips, which support your shins.

Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps daily (but not before a run).

Toe Curls
Stand with feet hip-width apart at the edge of a towel.
With the toes of your left foot, gather the towel and slowly pull it towards you.

Heel Drop
Stand on your toes on the edge of a step (a). S
hift your weight to your right leg, take your left foot off the step, and lower your right heel down (b).
Return to start, and then repeat with your left leg.
Monster Walks
With feet shoulder-width apart, place a resistance band around your thighs and step forward and towards the right with your right leg (a).
Bring your left leg up to meet your right, then step out towards the left (b).
Then walk backwards in the same way to return to the start.
One-Legged Bridges
Lie on your back with your arms out to the sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up off the floor (below).
Extend your left leg out (above) and hold for 30 seconds (work up to 60-second holds), then lower it.
Repeat with your other leg.
Shin’s Hurt?
Massage with ice

Freeze a paper cup filled with water, tear off the top edge of the cup, and massage with comfortable pressure along the inside of the shinbone for 10 to 15 minutes after running to reduce inflammation.

Add arch support

By ‘lifting’ the arch with insoles, you take stress off your lower legs. You don’t need to use these forever if you do strength work – think of insoles as a splint for your foot, and remove them once you’re fully recovered. Try different options available at speciality running-shoe shops.

Stretch & rest

Loosen up tight calves and Achilles tendons – both can contribute to shin splints. Reduce running mileage and do low-impact cross-training (biking, swimming, elliptical) instead. When you resume your training, ease in gradually. Too much too soon could cause a relapse.