Shin Splints are the tearing of your front (tibialis anterior) or back (tibialis posterior) muscles from the Tibia or shin bone.
The two main causes of shin splints are too much impact to the lower legs from heel striking and the second is overuse of the lower legs while running.
Heel striking is a result from bad posture when running. As you lean forward you are no longer in proper alignment, which changes your gait and results in over-striding and heel striking. The repetitive shock of your heels hitting the ground can irritate the fascia of the muscles of the shin.
IMPACT OF THE LOWER LEGS CAN HAPPEN IN A VARIETY OF WAYS:
- Heavy heel striking
- Running on a treadmill
- Running on a side-sloping street
- Prolonged downhill running
- Running in old, worn-out shoes
- Running on an unstable surface (gravel, snow, ice)
To eliminate heel strike try to run with straight posture shoulders back and chest out. This allows you to land on your mid-foot and your legs to swing to the rear as your feet hit the ground, thus eliminating heel strike.
OVERUSE OF THE LOWER LEGS IS CAUSED BY:
- Pushing off with your toes
- Beginner runners will often run too far and too fast
- Runners who start their runs too fast not allowing the muscles to warm up before increasing their speed
- Track intervals and hill runs which involve push-off with your toes
HOW TO FIX THIS:
- The shin muscles are relatively small and can be easily overworked the best solution to the overuse of the lower leg is to not use them. Rest is required.
- Massage is necessary. Your experienced RMT will work on the trigger points that are affecting the muscles keeping them in a state of tightness.
- Reduce inflammation by icing 3-4 times a day
- Stretching your calves and light stretching to your shin muscles
- Strengthen with calf raises or walking on your heels
All of these will help but will not cure the problem if you continue to run the same way. Remember its not your shins it’s the way you run that is causing the problem.
ONE SOLUTION: ChiRunning!
ChiRunning offers a way to eliminate heel strike by leaning forward from your ankles as you run, thereby allowing your foot to strike underneath or even slightly behind your body. This allows you to land on your mid-foot and your legs to swing to the rear as soon as your feet hit the ground, eliminating any heel strike. This solves the problem of too much impact to the legs.
Taking a little time each day to care for your lower legs can go a long way towards long term leg health.