Whether you can or cant partake in strength training with shin splints is a common question.
Shin splints, formally called medial tibial stress syndrome, are highly painful and can come on with no warning.
The cause of the pain is stress to the shinbone and its connective tissues.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem that can happen to just about anyone. Shin splints may occur for the following reasons.
- Flat feet are a common source of shin splints. A person who does not have an adequate arch may find the impact of their steps to be more than they should. If your foot arches collapse, this is called overpronation.
- Another common cause of shin splints is wearing ill-fitting shoes. You need a shoe with an overall good fit and plenty of support, especially if you are running or participating in weight lifting.
- If you do not stretch and warm up enough before exercising, you can also experience shin splints. These will especially occur when running.
- If your core muscles or leg and ankle muscles are weak, they make you more susceptible to shin splints.
What Are The Symptoms of Shin Splints?
Once you have experienced shin splints, you never forget the painful burning. It is important to understand the symptoms of shin splints, so you can act quickly when they strike.
- Pain and/or tenderness just below the knee
- Bone and joint pain that worsens when you exercise
- Pain when you have stood for long periods
- Bruising and burning in the shin areas
- An inability to walk or run without pain
Treatment for shin splints involves resting your body and icing your shin bones. You should apply ice to your shins for twenty to thirty minutes every three to four hours.
You may also take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
You will know you are ready to get back to working out when your leg feels strong again and flexes just as well as your other leg. Start lightly jogging, and if there is no pain, ease back into exercise.
Can You Get Shin Splints from Weight Lifting?
Shin splints are generally brought on with high-impact movements such as those involved in running and jumping.
Because most weight lifting is not high impact, the vast majority of people do not experience shin splint pain because of lifting.
That being said, starting with too much intensity can cause your calf muscles to over-tighten, which could place pressure on your tibia and cause pain.
If you are already prone to shin splints or suffering from them, you should ease back into weight lifting only after healing has taken place.
If you are a lifter, you must stretch well before each session.
There are targeted exercises that can help to stretch your legs and prepare them for weight lifting without pain.
Wall shin raises, heel step-downs, calf stretches, and shin resistance exercises are all beneficial in helping protect against shin splints.
Do Shin Splints Heal Stronger?
When you work out, muscle tissue is stretched to its limit, and damage must be done so the muscle tissue can grow stronger. In much the same way, bone tissue bends slightly as you run, allowing your leg to spring.
When you rest after an intense run, the bone regrows and becomes stronger.
After shin splints, your tibia goes through a lot of stress, and the soft tissues need time to heal.
You must rest your legs after shin splints have developed or the healing time will be lengthy and more painful.
Inexperienced runners can often experience shin splints because they do not prepare their bodies or they have weak hip abductors and calf muscles, which place undue pressure on the shinbones.
Experienced runners can also get shin splints when they increase their intensity too quickly, without being prepared fully.
Women are more likely to experience shin splints because of lowered bone density, along with people who have higher body mass indexes.
Yes, shin splints can heal stronger, but you must protect your bones and connective tissues with rest, once they become inflamed. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories will become your best friends.
Can You Still Work Out with Shin Splints?
Although you should rest until your pain subsides, you do not have to give up your workouts.
Thankfully, some workouts do not cause shin splint pain and can even be carried out as you are healing.
Keep in mind, if you experience any pain in your shins, stop immediately.
This means you are either not ready to work out just yet or you are doing the exercises improperly.
To maintain fitness while you are recovering from shin splints, try the following exercises.
- Swimming is an excellent sport for recovering from shin splints. Water removes the weight placed on joints. To get the most from your water workout, try practicing your running form and vary your swimming strokes.
- Rowing is a great workout for recovering from shin splints. It does not put too much pressure on the shins, and you can increase or decrease the intensity level for your comfort.
- Elliptical machines are ideal for shin splint sufferers because they offer a full-body workout with virtually no stress to the lower body. Make sure to retain good posture and vary your routine.
- Strength training should not cause any undue pressure on your shins. Make sure to start with light workouts. When in doubt, consult with a personal trainer to ensure you are getting the most from your workout, without putting too much pressure on your recovering legs.
Can You Get Shin Splints on a Treadmill?
Unfortunately, running on a treadmill can and does cause shin splints for many people. Although you are running on a flat surface, the treadmill mimics a downhill run.
This is because when your leading foot makes contact with the treadmill belt, the backward motion takes hold of your heel quicker than running on a paved surface would. This action pulls the forefoot onto the belt.
As most runners know, it takes a lot of leg strength to run downhill. If you run on the treadmill a lot, it is important to slightly increase the incline, and this should help to prevent shin splints from occurring.
When using a treadmill, make sure to practice safe running. Use the right incline and speed to ensure you are getting the most out of your treadmill run, without causing any injuries to yourself.
The goal of running on a treadmill is for you to control the action. Instead of allowing the treadmill to pull you backward, you should aim for pushing the belt backward.
This will help to strengthen your leg and feet muscles while keeping you in proper form to prevent so much stress from being placed on your shins and knees.
Can You Squat with Shin Splints?
Many people want to know if they can continue to squat with shin splints, and the answer is mostly yes. Recovering from shin splints should not be prohibitive of your squatting workout, though you should listen to your body.
You will need to take a “try and see” approach to squatting.
If it causes you any increased pain in your shin areas, you are either not ready for workouts or are in an improper form.
When squatting with shin splints, it is important to use a comfortable weight and form.
Many people are successful doing squats as they recover, but they learn to adjust according to their pain level.
What Can You Do to Lessen the Possible Pain/Effects?
Whether you are squatting or working out in some other way, knowing how to lessen the risks and prevent painful effects is integral.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to lessen the pain and prevent unwanted effects when working out while recovering from shin splints.
- If you are flat-footed, make sure to wear supportive arch orthotics in your shoes. These help to support this vulnerable area of your feet and prevent them from slapping against the pavement as you run. They also help with squats and just about any other type of exercise.
- Make sure to add shin exercises as a part of your warmup routine. These exercises will help to strengthen your muscles and bones, making you less vulnerable to shin splint attacks.
- Increase your mileage and intensity at only around ten percent a week, to gradually work your way up. Once you start to feel pain, stop immediately.
- Choose shoes that fit correctly, offer plenty of support, and are stable.
Strength Training With Shin Splints – Conclusion
Dealing with shin splints can bring on tremendous pain for many people.
Thankfully, you do not have to give up your workouts entirely, though you should listen to your body and take care of your injured shins.
Ice them and rest for the first few days and then gradually get back into a safe workout routine until you recover completely.