So this week I thought it was about time to throw out some key pointers I see on a daily basis as to why people get shin pain. I’ve done this in a previous post but filled it with science and technical terms. If you know me you know I work as a Run Technician at Profeet in London. I analyse gait and foot pressures to see how alignments issues and weakenesses can cause injuries and try to help find solutions! Shin pain is probably the most common injury I see where I work apart from Plantar Fasciitis and Knee Pain. Now don’t worry, this time I’ll make this simple I won’t use big words 😉 ha but seriously ill explain myself if I do. Here are some reasons, some solutions and how you can prevent them creeping up on you….
Firstly, we cannot continue without a little anatomy. Simply put, the calf has two main muscles- gastronemius and soleus (plantaris as a third is there, but doesn’t do as much as other two) . On your shin bone you have a muscle called your anterior tibialis which is fairly small in comparison to the calf.
When the calf muscle is overloaded (through excessive rightness and/or weakness) the shin has to take the extra stress and force that’s coming from the ground. This stress, due to the muscle being smaller and generally weaker, is what can cause the shin ‘splint’ pain.
Many things can occur for shins to begin to feel pain:
– Increase in training amount or intensity
-Your running shoe (being too old, or new but being the wrong type of support for you)
-Calf weakness (mainly soleus)
– Tight plantar fascia/ weak tibialis posterior (plantar fascia is a triangular tissue that is under feet, tib. post is a muscle that help pushing off the ground with toes when running)
-Lack of general stretching of lower limb
As you have probably guessed it’s pretty much addressing all of the above causes! Making sure training programmes for races increase slowly. The best way overall? Put into your training some lower limb strength work consisting of calf eccentrics. What does that mean? Doing calf raises but at a slow speed, ideally over a step to increase range of muscular strength! Add weights as and when you wish. For endurance aim for 15-20reps, for power, less reps increase in weight 👊🏼 the stronger the calf and especially tibialis anterior is, the less likely shin pain will occur!
Lastly, if you do end up suffering, RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation of the calfs. Plus get yourself to a Physio/Osteopath/Sports Massage therapist for treatment as soon as possible.
Happy Running friends and stay healthy 🏃🏽