Shin Splints & Biking

Sportive footwear
Runner's shins and feet (Image: mediaphotos/iStock/Getty Images)

Shin splints area a common and often painfully debilitating overuse injury resulting in sharply annoying pains in the shin bones that flare with every step. Shin splints, also called tibial stress syndrome, are exacerbated by repeated high-impact activities, like running and jumping. If you’re a runner, you may experience pain at the beginning of your workouts that gradually presents itself during more and more time each day. The pain may also become more focused on a specific point as the injury progresses. Shin splints can also cause problems for aerobic dancers long jumpers and soldiers doing drill.

Cycling as a Lower-Impact Alternative

Mid adult man jogging on grass, rear view
You can reduce the risk of re-injury by running on softer surfaces (Rice University). (Image: John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Pushing through the pain may cause the injury to develop into a full-blown stress fracture in the tibia. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking two to four weeks to rest limiting your foot transportation to the necessary everyday activities. In the meantime, cross training by cycling can help maintain your endurance and cardiovascular fitness. “Riding a bike would not usually aggravate symptoms from shin splints, since cycling is a non-impact activity,” says Brian Bower, M.D. of the Ohio State University College of Medicine. That said, if your symptoms are severe enough, even cycling can throw a wrench in the healing process. If you have concerns, talk with a doctor or athletic trainer who can help you develop a cross-training program and assess when you are safe to continue your regular training.

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