Shin splints are often caused by sudden increases in the intensity or duration of running and impact activities. Repeated trauma from exercise causes excessive force on the and the connective tissues that attach the surrounding muscles to the bone. What causes shin splints is an important question for many runners suffering from it.
Shin splints often trouble athletes building up the intensity of exercises too quickly without proper rest between the intervals. IT is a problem of too much too soon. Shin splints can result from variety of problems and it is a common injury for both professional athletes and beginner runners.
Less experienced athletes are more likely to get shin splints as their bodies are less adapted to the stress coming from high impact activities such as running. Even skillful athletes are easily prone to having shin splints if they over-train or don’t monitor their levels of recovery.
The Most Common Causes Of Shin Splints
Shin splints are essentially and overuse injury and the causes of it relate to inducing too much trauma on your legs. Every step creates and impact that your body has to withstand. Bearing this in mind, the common causes of shin splints are often related to repetitive training methods and surfaces and bio-mechanical issues.
Over-training and sudden changes to intensity and impact
Most runners forget to slowly build up their mileage and to take proper rest between running sessions. Creating excessive stress on your lower leg muscles before they have adapted for the type of training is an easy way to induce painful shin splints. Most runners overestimate their bodies ability to recover.
Quick changes on intensity or increased impacts to the lower legs can create shin splints quite easily even for the most advanced athlete. To avoid shin splints, it is important to make subtle changes in your training methods whether you are professional or a beginner. It is important to start your athletic activities slowly, especially for beginner runners.
Weaknesses in muscle strength and flexibility
One of the main causes for shin splints are tibia and its surrounding connective tissues suffering too much trauma. The excessive impacts may be caused by the weaknesses in the tibialis anterior and posterior tibialis muscles, as well as the inadequate strength of muscles around the ankle and pelvis. The recommended methods for healing shin splints often include getting proper rest and using the proper type of shoes, but they are often only partial solutions.
Your body should work as a single unit, building functional strength throughout the entire body allows it to have less weaknesses for other injuries as well. One of the most effective ways of preventing shin splints from resurfacing is to do the proper exercises for shin splints and shin splint stretches for the muscles related to the tibia and ankles. In some cases having tight calves can also cause pronation problems.
What Causes Shin Splints In Runners
Shin splints is a very typical injury for runners. It’s causes can vary from individual to individual depending on their training methods and athletic background. Not every can withstand the same amount of impacts or the same type of training. The anatomical differences of athletes can make some more susceptible to shin splints than others.
Improper running technique and bio-mechanics
All runners have their unique technique, but improper running bio-mechanics can increase the chances of having shin splints. It is recommended to have your running technique analyzed by a professional to understand whether you are an overpronator, neutral or supinator. Having a stride that is too long can also create excess force to the lower legs.
Some have found help shortening their running strides. Having high arches may cause posterior shin splints and flat feet may cause anterior shin splints. Understanding the way your feet work is essential for choosing the best running shoe and correcting your running technique. Women, unfortunately have also been found to be more prone to getting shin splints for different physiological reasons.
Hard, uneven and changing running surfaces
Hard surfaces are typically harmful for shin splints. Especially in the later stages of the injury, running on paved roads will further inflame your shins. Hard surfaces make your anterior tibialis muscle work extra hard to reduce the impact on each step of your run. Using softer surfaces for running and avoiding changes from one surface to another too often can help alleviate shin pains.
Shin splints can also caused by running on uneven surfaces, or roads going uphill or downhill, as the stress to different parts of the foot increase. Track runners should avoid always running to the same direction. Many professional sprinters deal with shin splints in their off-season by running on grass as it can tremendously reduce the impact on running.
Wrong type of running shoes (overpronation & supination)
One of the most crucial parts for preventing shin splints is to find a proper running shoe. After understanding your running bio-mechanics, finding the right type of running shoes for shin splints can assist in either healing or preventing the injury. Finding the right shoe can be challenging, but it is common for runners to completely get rid of the injury once they find the ones that are right for their feet. Old running shoes should be replaced approximately every three months.
Several more advanced runners have also found help using shoes such that mimic barefoot running as it changes the running technique more to resemble a more natural way. Barefoot running may reduce the impact to your shins and at the same time strengthen your ankles. It does not always work, but the way our feet were originally designed was to strike on forefoot to make the impact curve a much more stable. If you are satisfied with your shoes but want to further improve them, a solution may also be found by buying custom insoles that better match your feet.
After understanding the root causes for shin splints, we recommend reading how to treat shin splints which is a comprehensive guide for understanding the ways to get rid of shin splints.
Let us know on the comments below on what caused your shin splints.