You're jogging along when suddenly a sharp pain shoots through your lower leg, stopping you in your tracks. Sound familiar? If you run, you've probably had shin splints. They're one of the most common running injuries, and range in severity from a strained muscle to a bruised bone. Luckily, there are ways to prevent them. Dr. Joseph Jimenez, M.D., cofounder of Performance Spine & Sports Medicine, shares these five tips for keeping the affliction at bay:
•Warm up for five to ten minutes before running. If you're at the gym, warm up on the elliptical; outdoors, walk briskly.
•After you warm up, stretch your calves; do it again after your run.
•Add calf-strengthening exercises to your routine—strong calves can help ease pressure on the shins.
•Don’t “overstride.” Keep your stride longer in the back and shorter in front.
•Start out slow. For the first mile, run at 30 to 40 percent of your full speed.