I train in long distance running and sometimes end up with typical running injuries often attributed to inflammation. For example, I recently had to take long-ish breaks because of what I believe to be shin splints and Achilles tendon inflammation.

Besides breaks from running and strengthening exercices, are there other things that treat inflammation or help prevent it?

For example, ice and NSAIDs are often suggested. Do they treat inflammation or only reduce the pain it causes? I just want to put everything on my side.

  • I'm not an expert in running. I have heard that taking too long a stride (heel striking) makes you prone to shin splints. Mid-sole or toe striking does not. With weightlifting, it's a combination of technique, and managing the proportions of complimentary assistance exercises. I imagine there are similar things in the running world. Jul 9, 2013 at 0:44
  • It could be productive to check your omega-3/omega-6 ratio, or if you're not already supplementing omega-3s, working on improving your intake via grass-fed beef and dairy, pastured eggs, and supplements. Jul 9, 2013 at 1:06
  • @DaveLiepmann I definitely don't supplement Omega-3s. What should I be aiming for?
    – anthonyvd
    Jul 9, 2013 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


Ice and NSAIDs both treat inflammation as well as reducing pain.

Inflammation is caused in part by vasodilation forcing blood and fluids into the area. Ice treats this by numbing the area, and causing vasoconstriction to limit blood flow.

NSAID is short for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamnatory Drug - so the name alone should indicate that yes they have pharamological agents that treat inflammation.

Inflammation is a response to injury, so preventing inflammation can be dangerous!

Inflammation happens for a number of reasons, but is most often in reponse to injury. Inflamming an area can cause tendernous making your body more cautious with that body part or can restrict movement to allow for recovery. In your example, the inflammation is most likely reducing your range of motion through your ankle as a protective measure to prevent further damage.

Rather than just treat the inflammation, treat the cause of it. This might include changing shoes, changing stride or stretching but it all depends on what the damage is. If your inflammation continues you would definately want to speak with a medical professional.


One method of preventing runaway inflammation is to control your intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. I do this in two ways.

Real food

I eat meat and dairy from grass-fed (and preferably grass-finished) cows, and eggs and flesh from pastured chickens. Eating more wild-caught fish would help too.


I supplement daily with several thousand IU of vitamin D3, which happens to come with some omega-3s. I aim for the D3, not the O3, so I don't actually keep track of or know how much O3 I take in from supplements.

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