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Shin splints: Expert gives advice on how to prevent injury

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Running has been one of the only options for people wanting to keep fit while gyms are closed. This form of exercise is really good for your cardiovascular system, burning calories and building up strength. chatted to Professor Paul Lee, sports and orthopaedic surgeon at MSK Doctors and Sean Flannery, Head Physiotherapist at Harlequins and MyoMaster to find out how to run safely and how to avoid shin splints while running.

If you’ve recently started running, you probably have no clue how to run safely.

If you’re a serious runner, you’re likely to be pounding the streets in all weathers – but you could be doing your health more harm than good.

Runners knees, Achilles tendinitis, where to buy generic celexa ca no prescription ankle sprains and a whole host of injuries are common to runners, and let’s not forget about shin splints.

Shin Splints, also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, are a pain felt along the inner edge of your shin that’s usually present during and after training – and it’s very painful.

Why you shouldn’t run on pavements

According to Professor Paul Lee, you should avoid running on pavements as much as possible.

He said: “Professional marathon runners limit their training on hard surfaces due to the damage it is thought may be caused in the form of shin splints and stress fractures.

“Many trainers believe that 60 to 70 percent of running should take place on dirt tracks or grass instead, where the ground is more forgiving.”

The reason why you should avoid running on pavements is to do with the force on your body.

Professor Paul Lee said: “The impact of running purely on hard surfaces forces stress through the feet and lower legs.

“Although research has yet to determine whether or not running on hard surfaces is more detrimental to joints and tendons, it is worthwhile considering a few habits to improve your risk.”

How to avoid shin splints

Knowing what causes shin splints can help you to understand how to prevent them.

Sean said: “Beginner runners are most susceptible to shin splints, as they are using leg muscles that haven’t been stressed in the same way before.

“Runners who are returning to running from injury are also susceptible because they often increase their mileage too quickly.”

The physiotherapist explained that the most common cause of shin splints alongside running on hard surfaces is wearing worn-out shoes with a lack of cushioning.

According to the experts, there are a few ways to prevent shin splints. They are:

  • Have a running plan that increases mileage gradually
  • Spend time on your warm-up and recovery before and after every run focusing on your feet and calves
  • Work on strengthening your hip muscles
  • Avoid running on hard surfaces too frequently
  • Ensure you have correct footwear to support your feet and ankles. Alternate your trainers regularly to allow different loading on your joints.
  • Walk before you run, to warm up your muscles and tendons, which will help to minimise injury
  • Weight training is vital to make your muscles stronger and strengthen any imbalance between limbs
  • Make sure you factor in rest days, to allow your legs to recover

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