How to prevent shin splints

Tom's Question...
Hi Lee,

What can I do to prevent really bad shin splints?

Lee's response...

Hi Tom,
There are a number of things you can do in the short term to remedy it, but if problems persist then you need professional support.
The options you can look at and control-
- Run on soft surfaces
- Make sure your shoes have adequate support
- Ice after each run
- Regular sports massage
- Gradually build into your training and don't try to do too much too soon

Things to look at long term are:
- See a chiropractor/ Osteopath to make sure you are biomechanically sound
- See a podiatrist to get a gait analysis
- Look at acupuncture to loosen up the shin muscles and increase blood flow

I hope this helps,

Louise's Question:

I keep getting bad shin splints that I can’t seem to shake. I couldn’t complete a long run of 20 miles last week because of it. The pain goes away for a while and comes back after interval training etc. I bought footbalance insoles to help my over-pronation but the problem still persists. Have you any advice on how I can resolve this problem?. Is it likely to be my running gait or not stretching enough prior/after runs? Or am I doing too much too soon?

Lee's Response:
Hi Louise,
In regard to your shin splints there are some things to consider:
1) Running on hard surfaces can lead to shin splints. Try to run most of your runs (especially long runs) on softer surfaces.
2) Yes, your running stride/ biomechanics can be contributing to it if you are not biomechanically efficient.
3) Running too fast and doing too much early can place your body under more stress and therefor affect running action/ foot strike and also overload your bones/ joints/ muscles.
4) Massage is a good way once every 2 weeks to help alleviate any tension/ tightness around the shins.
5) Make sure you have appropriate footwear.