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Peak Pain

How can I prevent shin splints when I'm hiking downhill?

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Question:

How can I prevent shin splints when I’m hiking downhill?

Submitted by – M.F., Spokane Valley, WA

Answer:

With as many mountains as your state has, you must dread those descents. Sharp pains in the shins (often called shin splints) can arise from muscle inflammation or small cracks in the tibia. But because your injury only occurs going downhill, I think it’s caused by an improper foot strike. You can fix this by getting a podiatrist to add cushioned inserts to your shoes or boots. In the meantime, to reduce the pain on the trail, try icing your shins, taking ibuprofen, or stretching pre-hike by lying flat on the ground and pointing your toes as far forward as possible.

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