Shin Splints Tips
If you are wondering what exercise to do with shin splints, you most likely have shin splints or know someone who does. Let me first warn you, before I write anything else, to stop all exercise that involves impact or any exercise that cause's shin pain. The last thing you want to do is make matters worse. Believe me, it can get much worse. I know this because I have done it. I thought I was pushing through the pain when in reality I was creating a stress fracture that ended up keeping me on crutches for 6 months. Don't do what I did.
Our bodies have limitations whether we like to admit to it or not and they will let you know this if you continue to over train or simply ignore pain. If you're like me and love to work out, but have found yourself at the mercy of medial tibial stress syndrome, which is the medical term, then you feel the need to find a way to exercise without causing further injury.
It will be difficult to not be involved in a sport or form of exercise that you love; however, it is imperative that you do so until the pain is completely gone. In my case it was tennis and because I allowed the injury to worsen to the point of a stress fracture I wasn't able to play tennis again. The good news is I am over it and content with weight training and other non impact forms of exercise. Sometimes you have to do what is best not what you want.
Shin Splint Prevention
More good news is that you can prevent shin splints and before we get into safe exercises you can do with shin splints let's try to avoid them. First and foremost always wear the proper footwear when you are involved in high impact exercise or sports such as running, basketball, tennis etc. This means not only shoes, but socks as well. Compression socks and leg compression sleevesboth provide extra support for the lower leg muscles.
Do proper stretching exercises before to prepare the leg muscles and perform them again afterward to help prevent excessive soreness. There are those who think leg stretches are a waste of time I assure you they are not. If you are unfamiliar with lower leg stretching exercises then I recommend you go to Youtube and learn them.
Strengthen legs, especially if you are involved in high impact sports or exercise. You don't necessarily need to use gym exercise equipment you can use your own body weight. Strong legs are a must if you plan to make them do stressful exercise.
Don't try to do sports or exercises that you aren't sure you're in shape for. In other words, consider your level of physical fitness before you undertake a new sport or work out routine. This is a mistake that many people make and when they do they open the door for injury. I have done it and am trying to prevent you from doing the stupid things I did.
Do not over train. This is a hard one if you're an extremist that loves to push it and don't like to admit that you have limitations. I am guilty of this in the past, but not anymore. I have had enough injuries at this point to know that it isn't worth it. Keep in mind that it can end up making matters worse and take twice as long to heal.
Be wise when it comes to choosing the surface to do high impact sports and choose one that has some give to it. Concrete is an extremely hard surface that doesn't give, so it isn't the best choice. If you feel you must then make sure you do all of the above and take more breaks than you would on a softer surface and if you feel shin splint pain stop altogether.
Safe Shin Splint Exercise
The safest of all forms of exercise to do when you have shin splints is water exercises. The only problem is access to a pool. In hot months it's easier, however, in colder months you might need to join a fitness center or the YMCA. You can make up your own water aerobics or take a class to learn new exercises and have some fun while you're at it.
Cycling, whether it is stationary or outdoors, is another excellent exercise for the legs that is no impact. I ride a stationary bike every day at home and at the gym on weight training days to warm up leg muscles in order to prepare them for resistance training.
The elliptical machine is another piece of exercise equipment that is no impact and will give the legs a good workout when you have shin splints. It's a good idea to alternate between the stationary bike and the elliptical to give the leg muscles variety.
Weight training can be done safely by using machines that do not place undo stress on the lower leg muscles. You must also not use weight that is too heavy, but instead use moderate to light weight. Use leg machines with the lightest weight first to see how legs respond and up the weight gradually if there is no pain. If there is pain do not continue.
Yoga and Pilates are both no impact exercise and are good options as long as you are careful to stop if there is a certain exercise or pose that causes pain. This would depend somewhat on the severity of the shin splints, which is something only you know.
These are all safe no impact exercises that you can do while shin splints are healing. You never know you might find some that you like and want to keep doing. I decided to stick with weight training, cycling, elliptical and water exercise.