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Q&A: Prevent Shin Splints

Matt McGee / flickr

Q: I'm training for a half-marathon and keep getting shin splints. Is there anything I can do to help prevent them?

A: Poor running mechanics, flat feet, and overuse are the most common causes of shin splints. So to get rid of the pain you feel on the front or inner part of your lower leg, you need to determine what's causing it. Icing, Ibuprofen and massages will provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation, but pain will return without addressing the issues.

  • If you have tightness in your calf or foot pronation (your arch caves), then an orthotic, or shoe insert, may help in the short term.
  • Common weaknesses or mobility issues include hip tightness and weak glutes (butt muscles). Adding movements like the Mini Band Squat and Knee Hugs to your training sessions will help you maintain proper running technique.
  • If your hip mobility is good, then you may need to focus on your core stability. Shore up your hips, lower back, and torso with movements like the Front and Side Pillar Bridges.
  • The fastest way to clean up your mechanics and help strengthen your arches: Train barefoot.
  • Also, your best bet is to see a qualified physical therapist who specializes in sport to identify the cause of your pain.

Tags: Injury Prevention, Tightness, Soreness, Injury, Reduce Pain, Barefoot, Shin Pain, Running, Q&A, Foot