How to fix your shin-splints forever!
I've been dealing with Posterior Shin-Splints for a few years now, and I've finally been able to get them under control effectively. I'll walk you through my training and recovery, so hopefully if you're a chronic sufferer you can control or get rid of them completely.
Shin-splints are a fairly common problem among runners. Unfortunately for us, their isn't very conclusive evidence on what causes them or how to treat them. Some suggest motion-control shoes and others suggest minimalist shoes, Some suggest icing, and others suggest heating or not icing at all. There are, however, a few universal things suggested. So here I'll sort out what definitely worked for me, what may have helped, and what hurt me.
First let's identify what type of shin-splints you're dealing with. If it's on your lower inside leg you have what are known as Posterior Shin Splints, and if it's on your upper outer leg you have Anterior Shin Splints. My experience is with Posterior Shin Splints. This article can be extrapolated to Anterior Shin Splints, but I can't guarantee that everything will apply. Applying pressure to the edge of the bone should be painful, not excruciating, but it should definitely be noticeable. If it's excruciating, I suggest you go see a doctor, because you're shin splints may have grown into stress fractures.
Techniques I Know Work
Muscle tightness was a big contributor to my shin splints. I would get extremely tight calves that I was forever trying to find a good way to stretch. Unfortunately for me, stretching was not enough to alleviate the tightness. My mom introduced me to a foam roller and my life changed. I was skeptical at first, after all how could a piece of foam be the miracle fix to my problem. It was extremely painful to use at first, but then I noticed my legs became much more loose and the continued use of the foam roller ceased to cause me pain. This is when I upgraded to PVC pipe since the foam was no longer hard enough to cause me discomfort. This was an entirely new painful experience which continued my progress. I still use the PVC pipe 1-2 times every day and I contribute a large percentage of my cure to this simple and cheap object.
How to use a foam roller and check out this video too
Just a few notes on this too. Don't roll over your joints (applying pressure to the side of your knee would be a bad idea) and the more it hurts the more you need it (I was ready to cry the first time I used it)
This is another extremely important piece of equipment to help get rid of your shin splints. I can't tell you what kind of shoes you need or what kind of gait and foot-strike you have, but a good running shoe store should have employees who can analyze this for you. Worn out shoes or incorrect shoes are guaranteed to cause you problems. In my case minimalist shoes contribute to my problem so I try to stay away from them, your case could be entirely different, but one thing is for certain and that is that good footwear will make a world of difference.
Initially I could not break 15 miles a week without getting shin-splints. Today, as of writing this I'm nearing 40 miles per week with no pain. On occasion I still deal with shin splints, but I found that too many hard days of running in a week, contributed to my shin-splints much more than the mileage ever has. A majority of your mileage should be slow and easy (you should be able to talk fairly comfortably) If you feel like you're running hard, every run, you need to cut it back and just focus on building easy base mileage. take a few months off and just focus on increasing distance, don't even think about your speed.
Techniques that may help
I switched from a heel-strike to a mid-foot strike about a year ago. I can say for certain that it has helped my overall running, but shin-splints did re-occur despite the foot-strike change. I would recommend trying to switch to a mid-foot strike, but it may not be the secret to getting rid of your shin-splints
Many people recommend icing. I have noticed that it helps alleviate pain when it begins to crop up, but to the question of does it prevent shin-splints; I don't know the answer to that.
Techniques that did not help
I can say for certain that increased wearing of my minimalist shoes has increased my shin-splint occurrence, don't fall into the trap of this fad. I do however suggest you try them out, and make them a training tool, not an everyday thing.
This is just a draft, but I'm leaving it up so you can use it! Sorry for any typos, the info is still good.