Health & Fitness
Water: What you need to know about keeping hydrated
Health & Fitness

Ways to heal shin splints or avoid getting them in the first place

Doctors give tips on shin splints: how to avoid them, how to get over them

If you feel the symptoms of shin splints, don't try to run through them, doctors say.

Ice massage

When Melissa Lane's shins began to hurt, she put intensity training on hiatus and ran on grass, a softer surface, during her CrossFit class. At night, she lay in bed reading the newspaper, a bag of frozen peas on one leg, a bag of frozen corn on the other. UCLA sports medicine Dr. Heather Gillespie recommends freezing water in a small paper cup, then pressing the cup, still with the ice in it, up and down the front of the shin in an "ice massage."


It's also a good idea to stretch out and strengthen the calf muscles with targeted exercises. Fred Azar, the team physician for the Memphis Grizzlies, recommends leaning forward against a wall, putting one foot in front of the other, as though in mid-stride, and flexing the back foot to stretch the back of the heel cord. To stretch the front part of the shin, he says, sit in a chair, straighten the legs and point the toes forward.


Another part of the body that deserves attention is the foot. Put a hand towel on the floor and use your toes to pull it in toward you, Gillespie says. Or use your toes to pick up small objects, such as rocks, Legos or pencils.

New shoes

To avoid injury, change your athletic shoes regularly. Azar recommends a new pair every 300 to 400 miles. Also, if you suspect you may have flat arches, ask your doctor about orthotics — shoe inserts that give your arches extra support. Some people have success with off-the-shelf models, Azar said, while others may need more expensive, custom-made orthotics.

If you start a new activity or increase the intensity of something you already do, ramp up gradually. Azar recommends a 15% increase in activity per week. Runners making this change should avoid inclines and declines and favor soft surfaces over hard ones.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Sun protection is a fashion statement too with ray-blocking fabrics

    Sun protection is a fashion statement too with ray-blocking fabrics

    When it comes to sunscreen, applying more is more. And with rash guards and surf wear riding fashion's trend wave, the same could be said about the latest swimwear, which is stylish yet smartly covered up. Designed in protective fabrics constructed with denser weaves or coated with ultraviolet-shielding...

  • Summertime, when the living is risky

    Summertime, when the living is risky

    It's summer — time to get burned by the sun, stung by a stingray, poisoned by undercooked chicken and more. So much more. There are plenty of summer-centric mishaps that send people to the emergency room or the doctor, and yet, in many instances, those trips are avoidable.