Want to learn how to stop calf and shin pain when running? Calf and Shin pain are almost inevitable when you are a runner. Here's how to minimize the trouble:
- Figure out WHY you are in pain. Shin splints (pain and inflammation along the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg) are among the most common running injuries. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says shin splints are usually caused by overuse from repetitive activity (e. g. running) or a sudden change in physical activity (like running hills or increasing mileage). Other running injuries affecting the shin and/or calf include muscle strain, tendonitis, stress fracture and chronic exertional compartment syndrome (less likely).
- Ice. To prevent injuries, you should always ice anything that feels "funny" after a run. By taking this preventative measure, you can stop calf and shin injuries before they start. Ice 10 to 15 minutes after stretching and wait at least an hour in between icing treatments.
- Make sure you aren't running in old shoes. If you can feel the grooves in the pavement or small rocks on the trail, it is time for new running shoes. As a general rule, your running shoes should be replaced every 4 months or every 300-500 miles, whichever comes first.
- Make sure you are running in the right shoes for your feet. Your gait, height and weight will determine what kind of running shoes you need (i.e. motion control, neutral, cushioning).
- Take a break. Yes, this is cliche, but pain is your body's way of "telling you that something is wrong." Of course, you are manly, and you can run through pain, but that is not always the best idea. If you are running through muscle pain that might be okay, but if you develop a stress fracture or a tendon injury, you will only do more damage.
- See a doctor who specializes in Sports Medicine. Sports Medicine doctors are familiar with running injuries and won't just tell you to "take eight weeks off" (every runner's nightmare). John Roche, a Physiotherapist, says that planning your training with a Sports Medicine professional will decrease your likelihood of repeating the same mistakes and improve the outcome of your training.
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