After recovering from an injury, it’s important that you invest time and effort into prevention so that you don’t have to experience the pain of shin splints again.
- Wear the appropriate shoes for your activity and be sure they are not overworn and fit properly.
- Be sure to ramp up your mileage and/or intensity gradually. This applies to hill workouts, stairs, and all distance exercises.
- Be sure to stretch your calf muscles regularly to maintain flexibility throughout the lower leg.
- Try to run on soft surfaces like grass and dirt and try to avoid hard surfaces, especially concrete.
- Try to avoid over-striding – sure it may feel like you’re running faster, but you’re actually loading up unnecessary stress and pressure on your shins. Run within yourself.
- Discuss with your doctor whether an orthotic shoe insert is appropriate for your situation as well. Orthotics can help correct problems with foot mechanics and reduce other problems with the legs.
- Try not to compensate for pain or weakness in one muscle group by overusing muscles in other areas. Instead, work to proportionally strengthen all muscle groups relative to your activity, fitness level, and needs. The more balanced your strength and flexibility throughout your body, the better off you’ll be at avoiding injury.
- Warm up properly. Like your whole body, the legs are more flexible when they are warmed up, so stretching after a short, gradual warm up is important. However, be sure to learn the proper ways to stretch, so you don’t accidentally overstretch and thus strain your surrounding muscles.
- Be sure to learn the proper techniques for your sport or exercise of choice. When you know how to perform the movements correctly – particularly which muscle groups to use effectively – not only will your enjoyment and skill level improve, but your chance for injury will dramatically decrease.
- Stretch AFTER you exercise. When the body is already warmed up, it’s an excellent time to work on your flexibility. This will also help prevent over-tightening as you cool down.
For general prevention tips, read through these pointer.