Be A Lifelong Runner

 

Calling all runners: fix those shin splints!

You are upbeat, roaring to go, and ready to start your new exercise routine. You have set the time, date, and venue for your first run! Highly motivated and all charged up for a great kick-off, you take a moment to revisit all the tips you’ve gathered from the umpteen number of fitness sites, magazines, and running buddies. Ready, get set, go! It's going great, you’re on a roll and doing just fine when Bam! Halfway through your run, you experience pain in your lower legs! It’s nagging, it’s tiring, it's weighing you down. You try and continue the good streak till you finally give up and decide to simply trudge along. What a downer!

For all the enthusiasm that you’ve built up in the run up to your big day, a dull pain in your legs is what will demotivate you from further taking up the sport? You hope not, for there is a cure! What you’ve experienced on your first run is a shin splint and a common occurrence among runners.

Shin splints occur naturally. Let’s fix it naturally.

The shin splint refers to pain along the front portion of your lower leg between the knee and the ankle. It is called as such because it affects the shin bone in that region. You shouldn’t feel too left out because this pain not just affects beginners like you but also seasoned runners and athletes. Pain can be moderate to extreme depending on whether you are a beginner, training too hard, or running on rough or uneven surfaces. This aspect of running can be a major turn-off for people looking to embrace the sport and follow a healthier lifestyle. I can understand why so many patients complain about running being a difficult activity to follow. And it can be especially difficult if you are a beginner and not used to your legs handling that kind of motion and thrust while running. This can change. I reckon that the right physiotherapy workout and appropriate running attire should not only help you resume your running activity but also prevent you from suffering further injuries.

Shin splint refers to pain on the inside or front edges of the shin. Your legs experience maximum thrust and weight of your body when running. The stress on your shin bones is more pronounced if you have low bone density. This, in turn, increases pain in your lower legs. Continued thrust on your legs can lead to stress fractures and injury. The best way to combat shin splints is by taking 3 to 5 weeks off to let the bone heal. It is important that you take up a few stretching exercises and undergo an initial physiotherapy session to relax those bones and give your legs some rest. Chronic overload and inadequate recovery can lead to serious fractures.

Running shouldn't be a chore but an enjoyable recreational activity. You can restart your program after having taken ample rest and ensuring that your muscles are ready for the next running session. Keep realistic goals and try alternating between running and walking at regular intervals so as to ensure optimal loading on your legs. As the old proverb goes, slow and steady wins the race. Start slow and gradually build up your resistance for a lifetime of fun and running!

 

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