Shin splints more commonly known as medial tibial stress syndrome in runners is extremely common. It is quite often caused by overuse in the Tibialis Anterior muscle. The Tibialis anterior originates from the Lateral condyle and proximal lateral shaft of the tibia and it inserts at the base of metatarsal 1 and medial cuneiform. It is responsible for dorsiflexion and inversion of the foot.
Dorsiflexion is when you lift your foot in a direction that draws the toes closer to your body.
Inversion is when you tilt the sole of your foot towards the midline of your body.
Quite often downhill running will cause shin splints – I experienced very shore shins after my race recently as it was mostly downhill. It can also be caused by flat feet, running on hard surfaces, incorrect running technique or wearing improper shoes.
To help prevent Shin Splints strengthening and stretching will help.
· Strengthening the Hips
· Strengthen you calf muscles, both Gastrocnemius and Soleus – Calf raises, knee bent and straight to hit both muscles
· Stretch your calf muscles, both Gastrocnemius and Soleus
· Stretch your Tibialis Anterior and Plantar Facia
You should also make sure you are fitted for proper shoes, build your distance and speed gradually, cross train and work on your running form.
If you think you may have shin splints, quite often resting and icing the area will help, avoid any impact exercises until the area has healed. If it continues to bother you please see a professional.
If you haven’t had Plantar Fasciitis then you are lucky. I still remember the day when I felt pain in my heel. It was when i first started running and I didn’t stretch properly or strength train. The pain for generally start underneath the ankle and heads towards the foot arch. Plantar Fasciitis is generally an overuse syndrome of the plantar fascia at the calcaneus due to the collagen being disarrayed.
It can be caused by a number of things including low arches/flat feet, high arches, activities that require maximal plantarflexion and dorsiflexion of the metatarsophalangeal joints (running) and even tightness of muscles including your calf, hamstring and glutes.
Metatarsophalangeal joints are the joints between the metatarsal bones of the foot and the proximal phalanges of the toes .
Dorsiflexion when you bring your toes closer to your feet
Plantarflexion is the movement of the foot when your foot or toes flex downwards towards the sole of your foot.
To prevent Plantar Fasciitis I recommend stretching and rolling the following areas:
Using a Lacrosse Ball/Golf Ball roll underneath your foot this will help loosen up the whole posterior fascial chain
Stretch and roll your Calf muscles – both Gastrocnemius and Soleus
Stretch your hamstrings
Stretch your glutes and hips
Also it would not hurt to strengthen the arches by placing a towel on the ground and using your toes pull the towel towards you with your toes. Get properly fitted for new shoes and work on your foot flexibility.
If you do think you have Plantar Fasciitis please seek a medical profession for advice. I would recommend an athletic therapist if you have one in your area.