If you've experienced shin splints then let me introduce you to Jonnie Goodmanson. Jonnie is a massage therapist and yoga teacher trainer with 20 years of experience in teaching anatomy and physiology. She began her career teaching bodywork in a massage college in Arizona and has continued to walk in her fitness path. Check her out on her website.
You ever go for a run or hike and the next day the front of your calf is screaming at you? Me too! When I was training to hike the Grand Canyon, I had great trainers who reminded us to yes, train the uphill portion for sure since fatigue will set in fast with that. But for injury prevention, to reduce soreness, and relieve potential aches and pains…train for the downhill portion too!
Why? O.K. I’ll tell you! You have this little muscle on the front of your calf called the Tibialis Anterior. Called Tibialis because it attaches to the tibia, and the anterior side means toward the front. This muscle, if not properly trained, is prone to cause shin splints (AKA medial tibial stress syndrome). You may have experienced them when overworking this area. The muscle itself will begin to pull away from the bone a bit taking the connective tissue that adheres it to the bone with it. It is quite uncomfortable and you’ll notice it instantly because walking can become very painful. If this is an issue for you rest, ice, and potentially seeing a physical therapist if it persists may be necessary. It is not advised to keep running when experiencing the pain.
So, back to the training aspect. If you are looking to take up running, hiking (two common causes of shin splints), or cycling, it is important to remember the little muscles too and have a well-rounded training plan to train them for the workload you’ll be putting on them. You’ll want to simulate the movements you’ll be doing in smaller increments with rest periods and plenty of hydration in between.
Most of all, don't get discouraged. They can be worked through and you can begin to move again. Your body just needs to be trained.