Five tips to avoid one typical running injury

During the summer, when the weather is inviting and warm, many people begin running. I love running too, but this hobby has also brought some difficulties into my life. This is mainly associated with the pain along the inner edge of the shinbone, or shin splints.

Shin splints are quite typical among runners and this pain occurs due to the irritation and inflammation of the tibia muscle membrane. It is difficult to point out exactly what causes it, but usually the reasons are sudden increase in training frequency and intensity, wrong shoes, running on asphalt, jumping, tight and inflexible muscles, weak core control, poor running form ect.

Nevertheless, it is not advisable to stay at home with fear of shin splints, if you get bitten by the running bug. It is enough to remember a few important things listed below to prevent this typical running injury from happening.

  1. Start slow. If you have just began running, start slow. For example, you can alternate between running and walking and gradually extend your running distances as your fitness level increases. If you have run before, but had a long break from your hobby, you should not overload your lower legs by running 10k right away, instead get used to running with shorter distances at first.
  2. Warm-up. Before running, you should warm up by doing dynamic stretching, walking or jogging for about 10 minutes. Warm-up prepares your body for the actual workout and reduces injury risk.

  3. Proper running form. Thepurpose of good running technique is not only to make running more efficient, but also to prevent various injuries. Keep these in mind: posture, center of gravity, foot strike and stride rate. Look straight ahead, avoid taking long strides and keep your core tight.

  4. Strength training and mobility. In addition to running, it is really important to do weight training and practice mobility. Shin splints are often caused by muscle weakness, so you should pay special attention to exercising leg and core muscles. Good mobility is important for maintaining good running form. It enables normal range of motion, so it is crucial to develop mobility of ankles, calves and hip.

  5. Post-run recovery. If you are planning to start running, be ready to spend as much time on post-run recovery. You can prevent running injuries like shin splints with regular stretching, foam rolling and massage. It is good to massage the calves, the soles of the feet as well as the muscle tissue along the border of the shin.

I hope you got some good tips from this post and will be running this summer without any problems. If it’s too late, and you already have pain along the inner edge of the shinbone, please check these 10 tips for treating shin splints here (in Finnish).

Have fun running!