Have you ever tried to start running regularly, only to be stopped by sharp stabbing pain in your shins? Every step can feel like shards of glass breaking into your soft tissue, or maybe you feel like your bones are about to break. If you’ve experienced what I’m talking about then you know how frustratingly painful shin splints are.

You don’t have to suffer through shin splints in order to become (or stay) a runner.

A lot of you know about the knee pain that stopped me from running for 8 years and hiking for 6, but it actually started with shin splints.

I was 16, had stopped doing gymnastics and took up running. I loved the freedom and strength I felt during and after a nice long run. Pretty soon after I started running regularly I experienced that stabbing pain in my shins. Being stubborn and someone with a high pain tolerance, I just kept running. Eventually the shin splints went away; but I ended up with horrific knee pain a year later. This new pain was something I couldn’t ignore. Sharp stabbing pain literally brought me to my knees, and there was no way to run through that.

I now know these two things were connected, and had I taken care of the shin splints like I’m about to show you how – I never would have experienced such debilitating knee pain and I could have kept running and hiking all those years.

What are shin splints?

Medically speaking, shin splints (or medial tibial stress syndrome) is considered an overuse issue specifically from running and often from running on hard surfaces like pavement.

They tell us you’re at risk if:

  • you’re a runner or just beginning a running program
  • you change the duration, length or frequency of your running
  • you’re in the military
  • have high or flat arches
  • etc

Then there’s a laundry list of ways to “manage” the pain, such as:

  • have your running gait analyzed
  • buy shoes with more support/cushion
  • try inserts with shock absorption
  • lessen the impact of your activities by adding things like swimming and biking and
  • do more strength training…

But NONE of the above address the actual CAUSE of shin splints.

Besides, if you love running and you just wanna be out there pounding pavement or miles of dirt…you don’t want to hear things like “try swimming instead.” Right?

I’m here to tell you, you can run to your heart’s content SO LONG AS you address the CAUSE of your shin splints. And – it’s fairly EASY once you “get” it.

So what causes shin splints?

Read More