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So, you are probably a runner, jogger, dancer, or athlete. Yeah, that was a guess because most people who suffer from shin splints belong to these categories. And if you have experienced this pain, you know this is the worst one. For those who don’t know, the term “shin splints” refers to severe pain in the leg’s lower part below the knee. Usually, it happens to beginners or athletes who change their workout or running regimen. Now, let’s return to the topic you are here for, “Can you run on shin splints?”
To be short, the answer is a straight NO. But that’s not what will satisfy you. Here’s a detailed explanation of why running on shin splints isn’t advised.
What are Shin Splints and their Causes?
Can you define shin splints in a word or two?
Yes!You need to think about something other than ‘Shin Splint.’
Let me tell you. It’s an overuse injury.
When you put more pressure on your leg muscles, small tears occur in them. It feels like a continuous pain happening on the leg’s front area along the tibia. And you will experience pain on pressing the area and during/after an exercise.
The primary cause of this injury is old and exhausted shoes or those with no cushion. Running on hard surfaces and over-pronation are other causes of shin splints. If you are returning on track after an injury and try to boost mileage in a short time, it can also cause shin splints.
Besides, here are a few causes of shin splints explained:
- Training Errors: Athletes and runners have to train for a considerable time before the performance day. However, a sudden training load increase causes tibial stress overload, and hence shin splints.
- Poor Techniques: An athlete wins not only by strength and power but also by the technique he/she uses on track. While the right strategy helps grab a victory, the wrong one results in a negative impact. For instance, slow cadence or over stride running exerts a higher braking force on the body, especially the knees and shins. With time, the stress accumulates to cause shin splints.
- Hip Instability: Wondering how hips that lie far from shins can cause pain down there? Well, it’s the glute muscles that, when weak,stress out the shins.
- Wrong Shoes: We mentioned this before. Shoes with no cushioning can cause shin splints. Similarly, worn-out footwear is also wrong for your body.
And that’s the knowledge you need about how to avoid shin splints.
How to Differentiate Shin Splints from Lower Leg Pain?
All lower leg pains are not shin splints. Chances are that you already know the difference if you are an athlete. However, it may feel not easy at times to understand which one it is. Well, here’s a quick list of symptoms you can check for your verification.
If you have shin splints:
- You will feel tenderness and pain across the tibia region
- The lower part of your legs will start swelling
- You will get bumps or lumps alongside the bones in chronic cases
- The skin around the affected area will turn red in severe cases
However, the main point of difference is that the shin splint pain will stop when running or exercising. Alternatively, a fracture or other pain will not reduce while using the muscle and can increase instead.
Can you Run with Shin Splints?
Well! We answered this before in a single NO. But you can’t just stop running, playing, or dancing once and for all.
So, here’s a better answer to the question, “Can you run with shin splints?”
Ideally, you shouldn’t unless you complete the shin splints treatment because running on shin splints can prolong the injury. Technically, you can with some careful considerations like:
- Wrap your leg with a bandage or tape before stepping out
- Engage in cross-training to give your shin some rest
- Go slow on mileage increasing when returning to running
- Get the best shoes for shin splints based on your condition and foot type
- Don’t practice on hard surfaces and hills until the pain ends. After the treatment, you can re-introduce such surfaces to prevent the re-occurrence of the pain.
- Follow preventive measures such as stretching Achilles and calves regularly
Best Stretches for Shin Splints Treatment
Here comes the part that will help you in recovering and running through shin splints faster.
If you are consulting a physio or a doctor, we recommend you to follow that advice. However, you can add some stretches to your routine as given below:
- Use an exercise band for strengthening your muscles and tendons by stretching. Affix one side of the band to a stable, heavy object like a pole or the leg of heavy furniture at home. Stretch and loop the band around your foot. Then, make up/down and side movements for exercising muscle groups against the band’s resistance.
- Don’t have a stretch band? You can still work on your shin splints. For this, you need a step that could be the lowest one of the stairs. Stand on the step with heels hanging out. Try lowering the heels and then raising by using your toes. Repeat the same thrice 20 times in each set.
- Alternatively, you can stretch your calves by keeping your knees straight and bent. Being separate, these stretches work on the soleus and gastrocnemius. Ideally, you should repeat the same four times a day, holding each position for 30-60 seconds.
- The last one’s an afternoon exercise that involves toe raises. Stand straight and make your back rest against the wall and feet around a foot apart. Now, make your feet raise up and go down through the power of toes. After every sequence, sit on the knees.
That’s how you can speed up the recovery from shin splints pain.
If Shin Splints Return
Let me tell you. If you face the condition, again and again, you need to be extra careful.
Remember, you need to avoid running with shin splints, or you might get a non-recoverable injury. Instead of pushing through the pain, use your experience to put your shins at rest in the starting phase only.
Because pain does not always return in gains, we hope you got the answer for, “Can you run with shin splints?”