If you experience a sharp pain in your every step when you’re running, there’s a good chance you may have shin splints. Shin splints, among the most common injuries incurred by runners, are caused by the separation of muscle from the shin bone, which leads to inflammation and pain.
There are several different actions that may cause you to develop shin splints. One is exercising in shoes that are worn out and don’t provide proper arch support—if you suspect this is your problem, a set of custom orthotics could prevent a recurring injury once you are able to return to your normal running routine.
Another common way to develop shin splints is engaging in a sudden increase in the frequency or intensity of your workouts. In safe exercise routines, we include rest periods in between intense workouts. During these rest periods, scar tissue can form to heal muscles that may have been damaged by the impact of the workout. If, however, you don’t allow yourself the appropriate healing time, that scar tissue either may not have the time to form or may be damaged, allowing the separation of bone from muscle that characterizes shin splints.
Chances are, as a runner, the risk factors I’ve already discussed aren’t new to you; here’s one that might be. If you suddenly change running surfaces (treadmill to pavement, track to trail) that can put you at risk of shin splints as well; a harder or less even surface than what your body is already used to may put additional stress on the muscles that support your run, leading to injury.
Once you have shin splints, come in to my Houston podiatrist office immediately. While your instinct may be to stop running entirely, doing so could actually just start a vicious cycle of re-injury. My goal at Tanglewood Foot Specialists is to keep you training if at all possible; with a shin splint injury, we can introduce stretches to your routine and reduce your activity level without completely stopping your workouts, allowing your body to stay strong while you heel. Athletes need doctors that understand their passion; for any athletic injury, come see Dr. Andrew Schneider, the sports injury expert.