PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
To help prevent shin splints:
- Choose the right shoes. Wear footwear that suits your sport. If you're a runner, replace your shoes about every 350 to 500 miles (560 to 800 kilometers).
- Consider arch supports. Arch supports can help prevent the pain of shin splints, especially if you have flat arches.
- Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less impact on your shins, such as swimming, walking or biking. Remember to start new activities slowly. Increase time and intensity gradually.
- Add strength training to your workout. To strengthen your calf muscles, try toe raises. Stand up. Slowly rise up on your toes, then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat 10 times. When this becomes easy, do the exercise holding progressively heavier weights. Leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful, too.
It's also important to know when to rest; at the first sign of shin pain, take a break.
- Shin splints. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00407. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Callahan LR, et al. Overview of running injuries of the lower extremity. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 28, 2010.
- Handout on health: Sports injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/default.asp. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Wilder RP, et al. Overuse injuries: Tendinopathies, stress fractures, compartment syndrome, and shin splints. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2004;23:55.
- Stretanski MF. Shin splints. In: Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/225926657-2/0/1678/72.html?tocnode=55148574&fromURL=72.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-4007-1..50071-7_1137. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.