If you enjoy running, you're understandably anxious to get back to it. But patience is the key to proper healing. It can take several weeks to several months for that healing to occur. You can tell that your shin splints have healed when you can run or jump with no pain and when your injured leg is as strong and flexible as the non-injured one.
As we mentioned earlier, while you're recovering, you can cross train with non-impact activities like cycling, swimming and weight training. When you do resume running, keep prevention in the forefront of your mind. You'll need to address the factors that can cause shin splints. Be sure to avoid hard surfaces as much as possible and run on a padded track, grass, dirt or a sand trail. Wear proper running shoes and consider insoles or arch supports. Remember to warm up before running and stretch at least once a day. Start out slowly and gradually increase the distance, speed and frequency of your workouts.
Strength training exercises like toe raises and leg presses will also help you avoid shin splints. Wearing a sleeve will provide support as well as warmth and increased blood flow to the shins, reducing the chance of injury.
For more information on shin splints and other running-related information, see the links on the next page.