The Pain Free Athlete: Shin Splints Can Occur in Seasonal Transition

Jessica Kisiel


The Pain Free Athlete
Shin Splints Can Occur in Seasonal Transition

Transitioning from skis to running shoes can be painful.

When skiing, our foot is connected to a long board and never makes contact with the ground. In running, the foot is free to move on its own and comes in direct contact with the earth.

How the foot interacts with this surface can make the difference between a pain full or pain less run.

The functional design of the foot is to strike the ground on the center of the heel, roll to mid-stance and push off over all fives toes.

The big toe performs approximately 60 percent of the push followed by 10 percent on each of the outer toes.

Discover your foot strike

Take off your shoes and walk barefoot on a hard surface. Feel how your body is striking the ground. In addition to the pressure on heel strike and toe push off also be aware of the sideways movement of the foot.

Do you feel more contact with the inner or outer edge of your foot? I have been told I pronate and corrective shoes were recommended for this improper foot strike where the foot rotates inward onto the inner edge.

Supination is the opposite, rotating outward onto the outer edge. A common improper foot strike is to hit on the lateral side of the heel and cross though the mid foot to the big toe. Do you feel this as you walk?

Many painful lower leg conditions begin with an faulty foot strike including shin splints. An unbalanced foot strike creates additional stress on the soft tissues of the foot and ankle.

As the foot supinates or pronates the the lower leg bones twist and the surrounding soft tissue is strained. In the case of shin splints minute tears are forming that can cause pain, swelling and tenderness on the inner lower leg.

Posture alignment exercises improve foot strike. On my website: you can sign-up to receive a free menu of exercises specifically designed to prevent and alleviate shin splint pain.

I gave these to my neighbor and she has been able to stop icing her shins after every run. Before and after you do these exercises, perform the foot strike test or do a balance test.

Stand in a natural posture and feel how your weight is distributed throughout your feet – left to right, front to back and side to side. These exercises have a cumulative effect, your balance improves as you do them regularly.

Running Technique Clinic

Correct running technique is also critical to avoid shin splints. Learn proper running form and foot strike this Thursday, March 14.

Jessica Kisiel is a Sports Alignment Coach helping athletes of all levels and ages eliminate pain and recover from injury, enabling them to return to participation in their favorite activities. She conducts individual posture alignment therapy, sports coaching, group exercise classes, personal training and sports technique lessons and clinics. Contact her at 505.412.3132, or

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