Tom Willemann Health Tips

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Tips to prevent shin splints

Among the most common injuries suffered by a new runner is shin splints. It is the pain that is felt on the outer front or on the back inside of lower part of your legs. Shin splints are caused due to tight muscles of the calves and weaker shin muscles. Moreover a bio-mechanical defect and overtraining could aggravate the pain further.
Here are a few helpful tips to prevent shin splints

  • Start slowly: Shin splints are often suffered by new runners who do too much too fast, which means, they increase the intensity or the distance rapidly without giving the body enough time to rest and recover. Due to this they suffer running injuries and one common injury is shin splints. However, you need to take a break from your running schedule if you are experiencing this issue. Your body is trying to say you something, pay attention to it. Hold on till the pain subsides and stretch your calves during that extra downtime. Do not miss any chance to strengthen the muscles of lower back. Care should be taken while performing the stretches and also be careful not to over stretch yourself.
  • Avoid running on hard surface: Running on soft surface is always recommended as it does not put much stress on your muscles, bones and joints. If you are running for higher mileage choose soft grassy surface to run on. Another better alternative is to run on treadmill as it is easier than running on pavement or roads.
  • Rest for recovery: For starters, avoid running for consecutive two days. This reduces the stress on your bones, muscles and joints. Take a break and give your body some time to recover. Even for experienced runners, it is necessary to take a rest day from your running week as it reduces the chances of injuries that may be caused by excessive running. During your rest day, you can either rest for the whole day or you can go for biking or swimming.
  • Check your footwear: If your running shoes are old and do not provide cushioning, you may suffer shin splints. Replace it immediately to avoid further injuries. A wrong shoe can also cause this problem, so get the right shoes with proper fit and cushioning that provides maximum comfort and support while running. An expert at the running specialty store will guide you perfectly.
  • Perform toe raises: Shin pain may also be caused due to the weak muscles along the front side of lower leg. The muscles help to flex the foot upward and since these muscles are not so strongly developed amongst new runners, so they sense shin pain which develop into shin splints eventually if the intensity of distance is increased quickly. Heel or toe raises strengthen the calf muscles and can help significantly and prevents shin pain. Perform this stretch pre and post running for better results.
  • Land on your mid-foot: Avoid landing on your heels when running. The mid-sole is the best region to land on, then move to your front toe. Landing on heel creates a great amount of stress on your lower legs and causes shin splints.
  • Calf stretches: If you feel pain in mid shin region while running, perform a calf stretch immediately. Also stretching after running session is always better. Massaging your calves relaxes and loosens the tight muscles thus providing flexibility while running.  

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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