I've recently started walking on the treadmill (usually 3.2 - 3.5mph) and I've been having awful shin pain. I noticed today that if I let my arms hang by my sides when I walk the shin pain goes away but if I bring my arms up to swing by my waist the shin pain immediately comes back. I've tried shin compression sleeves and new shoes but aside from leaving my arms hanging nothing works. I want to be able to use my arms more so what's going on?
This is a tibial strain because you lift your foot up at every step, is like doing bicep curl at every step, but with your ankles.
Good for strength but if the walk takes too long it can result in pain, injuries are uncommon and hard to come back, but the pain can be discouraging.
Simply walk by letting your foot loose instead of flexing it up.
Shin splint is an overuse injury, usually caused by going too much, too soon. I noted that you recently started walking. Some things to ascertain:
- What is your physical activity like before you started this workout?
- What is your frequency?
- How often do you do this workout of walking?
- What is the distance you clock during each walk?
You can try easing off on your mileage. Give your body some time to recover. See if your shin splint gets better. Start on the safe side, go for lesser distance, and slowly work your way up. Give your body time to adapt.
Most often than not, the issue starts at your hip. If the hips are not stable, the stress will have to be translated somewhere else. Usually your knees and ankles. Your hips are like the steering wheels of the car. It is very important. Common muscles you can work on for hip stability are your glutes. Also, work on your calf muscles, especially the eccentric portion (where you lower your heels to the ground), to improve your shock absorption.
Don’t slam your feet down when you are taking a stride. Land on your heels gently, and roll your feet forward to your toes, before you push off again.
Arm swing is important. Try not to hold onto the handles of the treadmill if possible. Slow down the speed to accommodate that. Arm swing is an integral part of our walking movement pattern.
The main issue here is not whether you swing your arms or not, it’s about your hip stability and landing mechanics.