#858 2 Ways running shoes cause shin splints - DOC

#858 2 Ways running shoes cause shin splints

What are two different ways shoes can actually cause shin splints in runners? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.



I recently saw a runner who thought that he might have a tibial stress fracture, but it turns out it was just shin splints, which of course is good news. You don’t really want a fracture, shin splints is better, it’s easier to treat.

One of the questions he said was he asked me about his shoes and with his foot type, he actually needed more stability than he had in the shoes that he was using. I have a very stable foot type, I often run long runs in the Asics Gel-Nimbus that is a neutral shoe, or a cushioning running shoe. In order to tolerate those shoes, you have to really need cushioning, which means your foot’s fairly rigid, and it doesn’t need a lot of stability. Well, this runner actually needed more stability and so there are two reasons that you can get it.

Number one is from impact. The shoes that actually cause you to have too much impact is let’s say you have high arches, you have a rigid foot type, you need neutral shoes, you need cushioning shoes, but you’re a heel striker, you have impact and your shoes don’t have enough cushioning, well that’s impact.

So, the shoes aren’t cushioning you enough from that impact, you get axial loading to the tissue where it’s basically compressing it over and over and over and you get what amounts to an impact induced stress fracture and it causes irritation in the tibia, and initially that masquerades as shin splints.

The other way is the opposite where you have an unstable foot. You don’t have a rigid foot type, you have a pronated foot, a flat foot one that’s very flexible, you have low arches, you have instability, and your tibialis posterior muscle is actually trying to pull on the posterior tibial tendon to pull up on your arch and stabilize your foot and keep you from pronating when you run. And all that tugging on the periosteum or the covering of the bone in the middle of your shin leads to shin splints.

You can actually get shin splints for a couple of different reasons and the other one, the third one I mentioned sort of a bonus here is that if you’re running uphill, then you get the tibialis anterior pulling on the tendon. That, however, is not at all related to the shoes, that has to do with the amount of tightness in the Achilles tendon and the steep slope that you have, but the shoes won’t change that at all.

So, if you have impact related shin splints, maybe you need more cushioning. If you have flat feet and your shoes are too unstable for you and your foot type, maybe you need more of a pronation control type shoe or structured cushioning type shoe. But these are the things you have to think about if you’re getting shin splints and you want to get better.

If you want to check out more about shin splints, I do a deep dive in the shin splints masterclass. It’s a live thing I teach, and you can join me there if you go to www.docontherun.com/shinsplints. So, come sign up, check it out, and I’ll see you in the training.