This article is from the Running FAQ, by Ozzie Gontang with numerous contributions by others.
(Harry Y Xu firstname.lastname@example.org) (Doug Poirier
email@example.com .ibm.com) (Rodney Sanders
Excerpts from _The SprotsMedicine Book_ G. Mirkin, MD. and M. Hoffman:
``Shin splints are....condition that can result from muscle imbalance. They
are characterized by generalized pain in front of the lower leg and are
particularly comon in runners and running backs.... The most common cause
is a muscle imbalance where the calf muscles--which pull the forefoot
down--overpower the shin muscles--which pull the forefoot up. As the
athlete continues to train, the calf muscle usually becomes proportionately
much stronger than the shin muscles.
The treatment for shin splints is to strengthen the weaker muscles (shins)
and stretch the stronger muscles (calves).
To strengthen the shins, run up stairs. To stretch the calves,...(do
stretching exercises for the calves, et. the wall push-ups)'' *end of
In my experience, I have found that stretching is the real key to avoiding
shin-splints. I believe there's a book with stretches by Bob Anderson that
you may want to check. Also, back issues of running magazines sometimes
have helpful information. Basically, I do the standard "lean on the wall
stretch" and a stretch by standing flat-footed on one leg and bending at
the knee to stretch the achilles. I then top these off with a few toe
raises (no weights!) before I head out to run... If you're having trouble,
I'd recommend stretching 2-3 times a day until you get over the problem.
Also, you probably should avoid hills and extremely hard surfaces until the
situation improves. I've known several people who've had shin splints and
gotten over them by stretching. (Of course, you should be careful in case
the shin splints are the result of a more severe problem...)