Shin Splints

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Question

What are shin splints and how can I prevent them?

Answer

Your shins are tasked with preventing your feet from slapping down in front of your body. When you walk slowly with a short stride your shins don't do a heck of a lot. But when you walk fast with a long stride, there's a lot more force acting on the heel when it strikes the ground.

Shin splints is a form of tendinitis that plagues many runners, and results in a dull, aching pain in the front of the lower leg. Shin splints can actually be caused by overuse, stress fractures, or misalignment of the foot when moving. General shin soreness, is extremely common - especially for those just beginning a walking or running routine, and is not technically shin splints. In most cases, shin soreness will improve as your shins and body adjust to a new workout or walking routine.

What can I do if I have sore shins from walking or running?

Rest, ice, or anti-inflammatory painkillers will help in the short term. Taking shorter, faster strides rather than long slow ones, and wearing shoes with lower heels will result in less leverage and less shin pain. Stretching your calves (the back of your lower legs), and massaging your shins will also help.

Read more in our Beginner's Guide to Walking or Beginner's Guide to Running in our Diet & Fitness Health Center

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