I am 31 years old and have recently tried to take up running. I had a personal trainer for the first half of the year and tried to do light cardio 2-3 times a week. Took a 3 month hiatus from both then began to walk on a regular basis. When I started walking I always got this tingling/itching feeling in my legs but was told to just walk through it so I did. After about a month of walking 1-2 miles a day I started light on/off jogging. From there I wanted to do at least a mile running and a mile walking but I would get this incredible pain in the front part of my legs halfway through. I was told these are shin splints. I tried to push through them but after about a week of getting them every time it became hard to walk the next day. The pain would not go away so I just stopped running. Is there anyway to overcome this or am I destined to be a non-runner?
Shin splint pain commonly happens whenever walkers start a walking program, start walking faster, change their shoe style, or change their stride. Shin splints are due to an imbalance between the muscles that lift the foot and those that pull it down. Overstriding can cause of shin splints, as can wearing walking shoes with a relatively high wedge heel. The shin splint pain will eventually go away as you develop your shin muscles and adjust to your new stride.
Do not overstride: Overstriding is one of the major causes of shin splints. Keep your stride longer in back and shorter in front. Go faster by pushing off more with the back leg. Walking shoes with flexible soles and low heels: You should be able to twist and bend your shoes, otherwise your feet and shins are fighting them with each step. Some "walking" shoes are not well designed for walking. If they don't twist and bend, select another style. Your walking shoes should be relatively flat, without a built-up heel.
Strengthen your calf muscles with exercises: Toe Raises and Shin Stretches can help build the shin muscles and improve their flexibility so you can overcome shin splints.
Replace old shoes, Walk on softer surfaces, Alternate walking days: Walk only every other day until the pain disappears.
Ice your shins before you walk, and again ice your shins for 20 minutes after you walk. Keep your legs warm with long socks during the walk.
Warm up at an easy pace for ten minutes before you begin a faster paced walking workout. Stop and do your stretch routine, especially the legs, after your warm-up. Speed up only after warming up: If you feel the calf pain, slow down. Slow or stop if you feel shin splint pain: If the pain does not go away quickly at a lower speed, end your walk. For pain in the back of the leg, make sure you are not leaning forward when walking.
For pain in the front of the leg, a slightly higher shoe heel may work better.
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