Cause of Running Shin Pain & How to Avoid it

Dreaded shin pain. Almost all runners have suffered from it at one time or another.  You can manage it- here's a bit of general advice when you feel the onset of any pain in this area.

1. Check your running trainers?

Most  people don't change their trainers until they are forced to. When you considering the impact that runs through your body at each foot strike this is a big mistake.

You don't need to lavish loads of cash on them- there are some great deals in the sales. Aim to pay £50-90 and if you can go to a proper running store for some expert guidance. I recommend most stuff made by Adidas as they have spent heavily on research and development in the last few years and I think it shows.

2. Be cautious...but you don't have to stop running completely. 

You need to progressively put stress on the shins so they develop the strength to withstand the impact so resting isn't always the best course of action. If pain builds while running stop, but don't miss sessions in the hope resting it will improve it. There is a point when this advice is wrong - if you feel serious, shooting pain then definitely pack it in for a while! Try and stick to running on the grass where appropriate.

3. Check the Technique  

Here's 3 areas to consider. From more our help;

(I) Length of Stride. 

The key to efficient running is making sure you don't take long, heavy strides where you strike the floor out in front of the body. Your stride should be short and compact (but not a shuffle). Posture is important too- make sure you are nice and tall, lifting your hips to elongate your body. Lean forward slightly from your toes (not hips!) so its easier for your feet to land underneath you.

 (II) Ground Contact

Your landing with the ground should be short, light, and quiet. It helps to imagine applying the whole foot to the floor to avoid tip toe-ing! That's very important. You don't need to run on your toes, and you'll hurt yourself if you force it!

(III) Avoiding lateral movement

Have you ever thought about the amount of lateral movement you make while running? Do you arms swing across your chest? Does your torso rotate or your pony tail take your eye out?

The most important place to avoid rotation is in your legs. Excessive 'cross over' ( legs landing underneath and across you like walking on a tight rope) will cause excessive stress (affecting the shins), and wastes valuable energy. Control any rotation in the hips by imagining there are two headlights on either side. You must keep those beams straight.