Running fast is the leading cause of shin splints, research shows
- Scientists at the University of Calgary found that running fast causes shin pain or splinting
Walking and running on a hill has long been thought to be the leading cause of common shin splints.
The problem causes sudden, intense pain along the shin bone — the front of the part of the leg between the knee and foot.
Walking on an incline is thought to put excessive pressure on the anterior tibialis muscle in the front of the leg, causing the uncomfortable feeling.
But new research suggests that’s not the case, and instead it’s the speed at which you walk that’s to blame.
Scientists from the University of Calgary in Canada recruited 17 volunteers and placed motion sensor trackers on different parts of their legs as they ran.
New research suggests the speed at which you run is the cause of shin splints (file photo)
Each volunteer completed a number of runs, including three different speeds and five incline levels.
Motion capture technology was used to measure the strength of the feet on the treadmill.
The researchers analyzed the data from the sensors to determine the force, acceleration and speed of leg movements in the different running scenarios. They then fed the information into a sophisticated computer program that worked out the resulting stress on the shin bones and muscles.
The analysis showed that walking speed had by far the greatest impact on the shins.
Michael Baggaley, author of the study at the University of Calgary, said his team “didn’t see a difference in load when you walked uphill or downhill.
‘But it was clear that when volunteers ran faster, the load increased considerably’.
Mr Baggaley added that throughout history, adaptation to changing terrains has served more of an evolutionary purpose, as opposed to a changing pace.
Scientists from the University of Calgary in Canada recruited 17 volunteers and placed motion-sensor trackers on different parts of their legs as they ran (file photo)
The researchers said their findings suggest that running at a faster pace also carries a higher risk of stress fractures compared to running uphill.
However, other factors are critical to fracture prevention, such as calcium deficiency and previous bone injury.
A 2021 analysis of frequently Googled questions found that searches for “help for shin splints” were up 600 percent in a year.
Experts say the best way to recover from a severe case of shin splints is to get at least two days of complete rest.