What causes shin splints


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Aug 15, 2007
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I don't think i've ever had shin splints, i briefly remember might of having then when i first started training, but other than that i've been fine.

how and why do we get them, and what do they feel like so i can get an idea, so if i do get them i can go easy.

State of Mind

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Nov 4, 2007
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Hi pal,

if u have had shin splints u wud av known about it i promise ya.

People get shin splints thro hard impact training such as runnin on hard surfaces or even the treadmill. Thats y so many reruits end up in hunter fairly early into training because of the style of circuits being performed on a hard gym floor.

Im not entirly sure what happens anatomically...but i think its wen the muscles in the shins and lowers leg stiffen up! My twin bro described it as a permanent cramp and he completed the 30miler with shin splints haha...nut case!

Hope this is helpful to ya!



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May 31, 2007
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Shin splints is a general term used to refer to a painful condition in the shins caused by small tears in the muscles where they connect to the shins. It is often caused by running or jumping, and may be very slow to heal

One cause is overused muscle either an acute injury or DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). The muscle pain is caused by any activity that involves running, jumping, and sometimes even swimming. An individual not accustomed to running may experience pain in the shin muscles the next day even after a single, short bout of intense running.

A problem which can mimic anterior shin splints is chronic compartment syndrome (CCS). This is a serious problem which can lead to significant loss of function in the lower leg. CCS occurs when swelling within the indistensible anterior compartment of the leg reduces blood flow. This relative lack of blood, ischemia, can cause more swelling and generate a positive feedback loop. In severe cases the result can be acute compartment syndrome (ACS) which requires emergency surgery to prevent ischemic muscle necrosis, muscle death due to lack of blood.


Like any muscle, the muscles of the anterior shin can be trained for greater static and dynamic flexibility through adaptation, which will diminish the contracting reflex, and allow the muscles to handle the rapid stretch. The key to this is to stretch the shins regularly. However, static stretching might not be enough. To adapt a muscle to rapid, eccentric contraction, it has to acquire greater dynamic flexibility as well. One way to work on the dynamic flexibility of the anterior shin is to subject it to exaggerated stress, in a controlled way, such as walking on the heels. If the muscle is regularly subject to an even greater dynamic, eccentric contraction than during the intended exercise, it will become more capable of handling the ordinary amount of stress. Experienced long-distance runners practice controlled downhill running as a part of training, which places greater eccentric loads on the quadriceps as well as on the shins. A professional trainer, sport scientist, or doctor, should be consulted before engaging in this type of training.

Although typically proper nutrition is associated with other types of injuries (stress fractures particularly), shin splints can be greatly improved with a few simple dietary changes. One thing that will help to build strong and durable shins is proper intake of calcium. The shin can build itself to be stronger with the right amount of calcium. The second part is getting plenty of protein. Protein will help to prevent muscle related pain. The muscle cannot build itself without protein. Therefore training is not beneficial if there is not enough protein to rebuild the muscle.

The long-term remedy for muscle-related pain in the shin is a change in the running style to eliminate the overstriding and heavy heel strike.

Most competitive runners do not strike the ground heel first. Sprinting is performed on the toes, as is middle-distance running. In long-distance running, the footstrike should be flat, though some elite long-distance runners will retain their forefoot strike acquired from years of competing in track-and-field.

Correcting the footstrike begins with posture: a haunched forward posture leads to a heel strike.

In both postures, the centre of gravity is directly over the foot. Physics requires this, because it is the condition which prevents a body from falling over. An object falls over when its centre of gravity shifts too far one way or the other outside of the range of its supporting base. Arching the back shifts the body's centre of gravity towards the rear, so that the legs must tilt forwards to compensate; shifting the weight towards the ball of the foot, and to the toes. Bending forwards at the waist has the opposite effect: the legs tilt backwards at the ankle, shifting the weight towards the heels.

During running, the centre of gravity changes dynamically. Because for most of the running cycle a drive leg extends backwards, the torso appears to tilt forwards to compensate for this. This forward tilt is similar to what happens in a standing position when one leg is raised from the ground and extended backwards. Inexperienced runners observe this forward tilt in professional athletes and attempt to imitate it by bending at the waist, which isn't the same thing. In the forwards tilt, the torso and extended leg still form a straight line; or even a slight backwards curve:


Stress on the shin muscles can also be somewhat alleviated by footwear and choice of surface. Runners who strike heavily with the heel should look for shoes which provide ample rearfoot cushioning. Such shoes may be referred to as "stability" or "motion control" shoes. The so-called "neutral" shoes for bio-mechanically efficient runners may not have adequate support in the heel, because the runners for whom these shoes are intended do not require it. When their cushioning capability degrades, the shoes should be replaced. The commonly recommended replacement interval for shoes is 500 miles (800 kilometres). Excessive pronation can be reduced by extra supports under the arch. Running shoes which have a significant supporting bump under the arch are called "motion control" shoes, because they work by limiting the pronating motion. Also shoes with cushion shock features and shoe inserts can help prevent future problems.

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