Keep Running: Gabriel Patterson, Toronto Based Personal Trainer Touches on 5 Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Shin Splints

If you love running, the last thing you want is an injury keeping you down. Shin splints, which occurs when the tendons and muscles of your lower legs are overly strained, is one of the most common injuries runners experience. Here, Gabriel Patterson, Toronto Health Advocate shares five proven ways to reduce your chances of getting shin splints.

Avoid Hard Surfaces

Instead of using paved roads and sidewalks, find a trail or a large area of grass to run on. Running on hard surfaces is a major cause of shin splints, and simply getting your miles in on a more forgiving surface can keep you injury-free. Plus, this will get you running out in nature instead of a busier environment filled with noises and distractions. 

Strengthen Muscles

Your anterior tibialis muscles, which are located on the front of your lower legs, are critical to your strength while running. If these muscles aren’t properly conditioned for the intensity of your running, they can weaken and cause shin splints. In addition to proper stretching, doing toe raises to strengthen your anterior tibialis muscles is a great way to avoid shin splints.

Increase Distance Slowly

Shin splints are typically the first injury a new runner encounters. A new runner’s lack of experience and eagerness to push greater distances than they’re ready for causes them to overexert their leg muscles and not get adequate rest. This is why increasing the distances you run slowly over time is an effective way of reducing all running injuries, especially shin splints.

Get the Right Footwear

Shoes with worn-down cushioning can cause shin splints by making your steps land harder than your legs are accustomed to. This is why it’s critical to replace your shoes every few hundred miles you run. If you get shin splints even with new, well-cushioned shoes, then your feet could require a fit that’s more customized, which means a trip to the running shoe store to get the help of a professional.

Focus on Technique

The way you run makes a huge difference in your ability to resist injuries. People who land too heavily on their heels are likely to develop shin splints and should adjust their form to land on the middle of their feet. Landing too hard on your toes can also cause shin splints, as it puts excess strain on your calf muscles.

Gabriel Patterson, Toronto fitness instructor said, “these are just some of the many ways to take better care of your legs and avoid shin splints.” By running on softer surfaces, focusing on technique, strengthening your leg muscles, increasing distances slowly and wearing the right shoes, you can give yourself the best chance possible of sticking to your running schedule and keeping injuries at bay.

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