How To Not Get Shin Splints When Running

As a passionate runner, I’ve experienced my fair share of shin splints, and let me tell you, they can really put a damper on your running routine. Shin splints are a common overuse injury that causes pain along the shinbone (tibia). They can occur when the muscles and tendons surrounding the tibia become inflamed and irritated.

Why Do Shin Splints Happen?

Shin splints can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot)
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Wearing improper or worn-out running shoes
  • Increasing running mileage or intensity too quickly
  • Having tight calf muscles or weak shin muscles

For me, it was a combination of all these factors. I used to run on the pavement every day, wearing old running shoes that had lost their cushioning. I also had tight calf muscles, which put extra strain on my shins during my runs. It took some trial and error, but I eventually found strategies that helped me prevent shin splints.

Preventing Shin Splints

1. Gradual Progression

One of the most important things I learned is the importance of gradual progression. It’s crucial to increase your running mileage and intensity slowly and steadily. Avoid the temptation to push yourself too hard, too soon. Start with shorter runs and gradually increase the duration and intensity over a period of weeks or even months. This allows your body to adapt and strengthen, reducing the risk of developing shin splints.

2. Proper Footwear

Investing in a good pair of running shoes is a game-changer when it comes to preventing shin splints. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for shoes that suit your foot type and running style. Look for shoes with good cushioning and support, especially in the midsole and heel areas. Replace your shoes regularly to ensure they maintain their shock-absorbing properties.

3. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent shin splints by improving flexibility and strengthening the muscles around the shin. I found that incorporating calf stretches, toe raises, and ankle rotations into my pre and post-run routine helped alleviate the strain on my shins. Don’t forget to stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps as well, as tightness in these muscle groups can contribute to shin splints.

4. Cross-training and Rest Days

As much as I love running, I’ve learned the importance of cross-training and rest days in preventing shin splints. Incorporating low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling, into your workout routine can give your shins a break while still maintaining cardiovascular fitness. Rest days are just as important. Listen to your body and give it time to recover and repair. Pushing through pain and fatigue can lead to overuse injuries, including shin splints.

5. Running Surface

The surface you run on can have a significant impact on your shins. Whenever possible, choose softer surfaces like grass, dirt trails, or tracks rather than concrete or asphalt. Running on uneven terrain can also help activate different muscle groups and reduce the strain on your shins.


Dealing with shin splints can be frustrating, but with the right strategies and precautions, you can minimize your risk of developing them. Remember to gradually increase your running mileage, wear proper running shoes, perform stretching and strengthening exercises, incorporate cross-training and rest days, and choose suitable running surfaces. By taking care of your shins, you’ll be able to enjoy your runs to the fullest without the nagging pain of shin splints.