Sharp, shooting pain sending you out of the game? Don’t let shin splints get the best of you! Cushion your feet with the support they need to get you back on the road.
Are you experiencing an aching or throbbing pain in your shins? Is your pain or discomfort keeping you from running and exercising? They’re not fun at all, but equipped with the best running shoes for shin splits, you can keep those sharp, shooting pains at bay while rediscovering your love of running.
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- What are shin splints?
- What causes shin splints?
- The Best Running Shoes to Prevent Shin Splints
- Shin Splints Treatment & Prevention: How to Treat & Prevent Shin Splints
- Shin Splint Exercises
What are shin splints?
If you’re searching for the best shoes for shin splints, you should know what they are the first place. Generally speaking, the term shin splints applies to any pain that’s occurring below the knee and above the ankle on the front of the leg. Shin splints can occur either on the inside of the leg (medial) or outside of the leg (anterior). They’re one of the most common injuries not only among runners, but also across a vast assortment of sports, so we’re pretty familiar with knowing how to get athletes hooked up with the best shoes for shin splints.
Why do shoes matter? Shin splints are caused by the repeated stress of impact during athletic endeavors, so wearing dedicated shoes for shin splints can help absorb some of that painful shock by dispersing it more evenly across the foot. The injury is most common among new runners who aren’t increasing their mileage gradually, failing to give their body the time it needs to attune to the intensified wear and tear.
If you’re new to running and searching for the best running shoes to prevent shin splints, we recommend slowly building up your mileage in order to give your muscles time to repair and rebuild themselves. Similarly, seasoned runners who make a change in their well-established regimen (like from running on flat surfaces to hills, for example) might also experience the ill effects of not giving your muscles time to adapt, causing pain to occur and prompting a hunt for the best shoes for shin splints in order to alleviate discomfort.
Shin split symptoms:
- Pain and tenderness in the lower leg
- The inability to flex your toes up towards your shin without pain or discomfort
- Pain in your legs between your knees and ankles that occurs after a few miles of running
It’s important to remember that not all pain in your lower legs is necessarily due to shin splints. Pain in the outside part of the lower leg may be compartment syndrome, which is a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment within the lower leg. This creates pressure, unusual nerve sensations and eventually muscles weakness. To diagnose this condition you’ll likely have to visit a doctor. However, before you do try using compression socks during your run. The compression might help the blood in that specific compartment flow better, relieving the pressure that’s causing you discomfort.
If you’re a regular runner and you’re experiencing pain in your lower leg around or above your ankles but below your knees, you could have a stress fracture (a micro fracture in either the tibia for fibula.) This can only be diagnosed via a professional using an x-ray, but the test might be worth your while before you go buy a new pair of shoes for shin splints.
What causes shin splints?
Typically only one leg is affected when it comes to shin splints, and it’s usually the runner’s dominant leg. The pain is most often a result from an imbalance between the calf muscles and the muscles in the front of your leg, but even though it might only affect one side, you’ll still need a matching pair of the best sneakers for shin splints. Running in two different shoes could create a bodily imbalance that’s worse than splintering shin pain, creating a domino effect from the ground up.
“Overpronation” refers to when the foot rolls more than 15 degrees inward to meet the ground after heel strike. This rotation of the ankle forces the big toe to do most of the work to push itself back off the ground to being your next stride. Such an impact imbalance is what causes additional pain in the lower leg, typically referred to as shin splints. If you suffer from pronation problems, you should look for motion stability shoes in addition to the best shoes for shin splints since the problems are probably interconnected.
The most unfortunate part of shin splints is that doctors and physical therapists will recommend you stop running until the inflammation decreases and your muscles have time to repair themselves. The LAST thing in the world you want to do is stop running. So Road Runner Sports has come up with a few of the best running shoes for shin splints that could help you resolve your painful issues—without having to stop running!
The best running shoes to prevent shin splints
When it comes to shopping the best shoes for shin splints, there are a few key features you’ll want to keep an eye out for: cushion level (between Level 5-1) and motion control (also called Stability shoes). This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but generally speaking, opting for Level 5 Stability shoes will deliver rides that are much less painful and much more forgiving on your tender bones and joints.
Here are a few of our top recommendations on the best running shoes for shin splints so you can get off the sideline and back in the game.
- ASICS GEL-Kayano: Now on its 25th iteration, the GEL series is well-known for its innovative gel cushioning system at the forefoot and heel which that helps softens each landing, lessening any splintering pain you could incur. The ASICS Kayano in particular is a good shoe for shin splints due to its advanced support features which effectively stabilize your feet.
- Brooks Bedlam: The Guide Rails in the Bedlam by Brooks helps perfect your form and correct pronation problems, while the adaptive DNA AMP midsole cushioning makes for one of the best running shoes for shin splints that occur from repetitive pavement pounding.
- Saucony Hurricane: This line of running shoes is popular, in part, on account of its medial posted midsole that helps correct your stride for proper force dispersion. Not only is the underfoot cushioning super comfortable, but the ISOFIT dynamic upper actually adapts to your unique foot shape, causing the Hurricane to serve up one luxurious fit and feel.
- Hoka One One Arahi: The Meta-Rocker featured in the Arahi is pretty much famous at this point for being one of the best running shoes for shin splints thanks to the incredibly smooth ride it delivers. Plus the Hoka One One J-Frame helps guide your foot into a stable stride without feeling overly rigid.
- Adidas Ultra Boost ST: For those who want shoes for shin splints without compromising on fashion, the Adidas Ultra Boost ST edition is a standout choice. This Level 5 Stability shoe boasts a heel counter and plenty of comfort to lessen the stress of your rides, which come wrapped up in one aesthetically-sleek package destined to turn heads as you take flight.
Shin Splints Treatment & Prevention: How to Treat & Prevent Shin Splints
- Buy a new pair of running shoes. Often times running in a new pair of running shoes with additional support and cushioning is enough to give your lower legs the relief they need to avoid further shin splint issues. Try our 3D Perfect Fit System or visit our Running Shoes: How to Choose page for more information on how to shop for a new pair of running shoes that will fit your running style perfectly and reduce your risk of shin splints and other common running injuries.
If the best sneakers for shin splints isn’t in your budget at the moment, there are some at-home remedies you can try to reduce your pain.
- Compression socks. Compression socks will help increase the blood flow in the muscles in your lower leg, thus reducing your chances of inflammation, pain and discomfort.
Foam rollers. Every runner needs to own a foam roller, and it needs to become your very best friend—even if you purchase the best running shoes for shin splints. Whenever you’re experiencing lower leg pain, be sure to use a foam roller to roll out all the inflammation in your shins on a regular basis.
Shin Splint Exercises
- Stretch, stretch and stretch again! Stretch your Achilles tendon, your front shins and your calves regularly to try and solve your shin splint woes. Shin splint stretches could make or break your recovery, so make sure you’re diligent about doing them!
- Trace the alphabet on the floor with your big toes. Do this with each of your legs—this will help stretch and strengthen your front calf/shin muscles.
- Alternate walking on your heels for 30 seconds with walking regularly for 30 seconds—this exercise with strengthen your front calf/shin muscles, helping to avoid shin splint issues in the future. Try to do #1, #2, and #3 three times a day!
- If your shin splint problems aren’t cured after trying each of these options, you may want to consider cross-training (swimming, cycling, weight training, etc.) until you’re able to run again. Once you start running again, remember to increase your mileage slowly—no more than 10% increase in distance daily—to prevent running injuries and to wear the best shoes for shin splints to ward off any potential woes.
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