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​Shin splints

A common affliction among runners, shin splints cause searing pain up your shins. In essence, it is the result of weakness and tightness in the muscles that attach your foot to the lower part of your leg. And it usually occurs to those new to running and those doing long distance running without proper training.

Shin splints is also associated with poor methods of progression (i.e. too much, too soon) or runners who abruptly change their work out regime (e.g. flat surfaces to hill running).

What you can do: Stretch well after every run, advises Pauline Leong, Senior Principal Physiother​apist at the Department of P​hysiotherapy, Si​ngapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group. “This lengthens the muscles and allows you to generate maximal forces through the shin muscles”. Each stretch should last 30 seconds. Pain beyond the normal muscle aches post-running should be investigated as it could indicate stress fractures or other shin injuries. Rest and recovery is important if you do long runs regularly – with no more than 10 per cent weekly increase in mileage after recovering from a shin splint episode.

Back problems

Proper running technique is important to keep back problems at bay. Running is a high impact activity that puts vertical stress through your joints up to your spine. Therefore, training to increase mileage should be supplemented with strengthening and flexibility exercises.

What you can do: Be sure to stretch well after every session. Pilates is a good way to lengthen and strengthen your spinal muscles. It improves the range of movement in your lower back, and may help you cope better with your run.

See previous page for information on how to pr​event joint problems and muscular and bones injuries.

​See next page to learn ways to prevent dehydration and sudden cardiac event during a run.

Ref: P16