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Wearing calf guards can help with shin splints

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Here’s why I often wear calf guards for running on paved surfaces: because I found that wearing calf guards can help with shin splints, both preventing them and reducing pain when you have them.

Getting shin splints from running

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When I started road running, from not running at all, I made the mistake a lot of new runners make, which is to run too far, too soon. The problem was that my lungs allowed me to run more often, and faster, but my legs needed time to recover – which I did not allow them to do – cue pain!

I never had shin splints before and had to google the symptoms, but this is definitely what I had – an aching pain on the front inside of my leg, next to the shin. The remedy for this is ice, elevation, and rest, so I had a 3 week break from running while my legs recovered.

Can calf guards help with shin splints?

I had read of the benefits of calf guards (also known as compression sleeves) in not only preventing shin splints, but also other lower leg overtraining injuries, such as calf strains, and the benefit of wearing them for recovery, so I invested in a pair of my own to try out.  Compressport’s are not the cheapest, but they had receive a lot of great reviews and I decided they were worth the money –  c.£30.

Not did the calf guards prevent my shin splints from recurring, but I find that wearing them during and after running (particularly after long runs), helps my legs recover quickly from training runs and races.

Running calf Guard sizes and colours

They come in four sizes, depending on the length and circumference of your lower leg, and sizing guides are available on their website (I wear R2, the second size up and am 5ft3 with reasonable-sized calves). The calf guards are initially tight to get on but feel pleasantly smooth once on, and have the benefit of keeping the lower leg muscles warm.

I opted for some rather fetching orange sleeves for my first pair, but they are available in a range of colours, with black or white being the most common choice. I’ve since bought a black pair and worn them on long road and trail runs.

Wearing Compressport calf guards before a 10k
Wearing Compressport calf guards before a 10k back in 2012

Thanks for reading!

Have you suffered from shin splints too? Do you have any questions about wearing calf guards? Drop us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

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