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.