No One Wants Shin Splints—So Do This

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

You don’t want to run in pain, especially for the first annual Halo House 5k on April 25 in Houston. The race will raise funds for the new facilities being built at Texas Medical Center to house cancer patients with compromised immune systems and their caregivers. Shin splints are not life-threatening like cancer, but they could keep you from raising money for Halo House, so here are some things you can do to prevent them.

  • Wear the right shoes, as in ones that fit well and give good support to your arch. Shin problems often begin with issues in your feet, so that’s the place to start.

  • Use orthotics or inserts to give the proper support to your feet if you need more than your shoes can provide.

  • Work on your form: mid-foot strikes (rather than landing hard on heels or bouncing on toes) can help prevent pain in your shins. Shorter strides may help with this, so work with an expert to improve the way you run.

  • Cross train, so you aren’t stressing the same bones and tissues the same way every day.

  • Make gradual—not sudden—changes to the distance, intensity, and frequency of your runs.

Finally, do the following exercises. First, stand—heels together and toes out—and move slowly up and down on your toes 10 times. Then repeat with toes touching and heels far apart. These movements help strengthen your leg muscles and avoid shin splints.

If you already have pain in your shins, or notice it after your next run, use RICE therapy (rest, icing, compression, and elevation) as first aid for your symptoms and call Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, for an appointment. We can help rule out other possible problems, like a stress fracture in your tibia, and design a treatment plan to get you back running without pain. Simply call (281) 497-2850, or schedule online through our website. We combine caring attitudes with the most advanced technology to ensure you get the excellent care you come to expect from a foot specialist.

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