Jogging Shin Pain
Causes & Exercises For Relief

Shin pain or shin splints are one of the common newbie running injuries. The 50 plus jogging woman should take note that this injury can lead to a stress fracture without your intervention. But by knowing the causes, you can do something about it.

running shin pain

Women over 50 are at higher risk of incurring fractures because we may have lower bone density without even knowing about it. Jogging can lower your risk of osteoporosis or other menopausal ails but it still needs common sense and a healthy jogger’s diet to back up the benefits.

Causes of Shin Pain

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The pain is located in the shin (between the knee and the ankle). It can be mild to severe.

  1. The most common cause is running too much too soon or too far
    Basically, we do it to ourselves, which has a silver lining in that it means we can prevent it and fix it.

    The lower part of the leg has the bone called the tibia. Connective tissue and muscles surround this bone. When you jog, the muscles and tissues in your legs act to absorb the shock of impact and to protect the bones and joints.

    When the connective tissues and muscles get exhausted or fatigued, they fail to adequately absorb the shock of your running. Since these tissues are no longer doing their job, here is why shin pain can lead to stress fractures.

  2. Tight calf muscles
    Mild shin pain is a signal for you to back off your jogging intensity. This is particularly true if you also have tight calf muscles. These muscles are at the back of the lower leg and also act to absorb the impact of your foot landing. If these muscles remain tight after running, you have another indication that you are overdoing it.

  3. Poor running form
    Poor running technique or form can put you at a high risk of repeatedly dealing with running pain of one sort or another. When you run efficiently, you increase your aptitude and enjoyment of jogging while reducing injuries.

  4. Worn running shoes
    Ensure you have proper jogging shoes for what you need. Running shoes are designed to support and correct your gait. The truth is that shoes do what the foot can do naturally unaided.

    However,...
    "If you rely on shoes, you must ensure they meet your needs for support, cushion and gait correction.”
  5. Sudden change of running surfaces
    If you always run on trails and then switch to the sidewalk for winter running, you will need to adapt. The same holds true when going from a treadmill to trails, asphalt or concrete. Back off distance and/or time and come back on a gradient.
  6. A gradient is defined as a slope or gradual increase. To apply a gradient to your training means to increase your miles, time or intensity gradually allowing your body to adapt to higher demands.

  7. Uphill or downhill training
    Hill work should be entered into on a gradient. You need the time to allow your muscles, tendons and connective tissues an opportunity to adapt—and adapt they will.

Overpronation is an additional cause of pain in your shins. When the foot itself, is not doing its job correctly, then problems can occur up the leg too.

Lower Leg Exercises Reduce Risks of Injuries

I highly recommend you do these exercises in bare feet to allow for full range of motion. I love the feeling of freedom and the sensation of my own abilities barefoot brings.

Tippy-toe Balance
Go up and down on your tippy-toes. Raise out your arms to provide added balance.

Foot stretch
In a sitting position, stretch out your foot. Now curl your toes.

Spread Your Toes
While in a sitting position, spread out your toes. This may take some practice. Your toes should be able to fan out, so persist with this over several/weeks.

Foot Rotation
While sitting, rotate your feet at the ankle in a full circle. Be sure to go the opposite direction too.

Foot Bend
Remain sitting. Bring up your feet with the toes pointing towards the knee.

You can do these exercises while watching TV or while working at your desk. Try alternating the shin pain exercises repeatedly and keep doing them even when your pain has dissipated.


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