Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant – the others being the famous tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN).
Researchers are hard at work searching for hard evidence to prove (or disapprove) the myriad of beneficial properties CBD is believed to have. Thus far, an expanding body of studies suggests that this non-intoxicating cannabis compound may just be the elixir of health and wellness.
Most of these studies have yielded promising results in favor of CBD's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain and anxiety-relieving properties. Some have been conclusive enough that an FDA-approved CBD-based drug called Epidiolex/Sativex is now used in treating a rare type of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
With so much going for CBD, it's only natural that sooner or later, people will want to know if it can help with shin splints.
Here is what you need to know.
What are the most common running injuries?
Most people engage in physical activities to keep fit and stay healthy. The health benefits of leading an active life are, indeed, well-documented.
Research has shown that regular exercise may:
- Help you maintain a healthy body weight
- Reduce risks of heart diseases
- Keep your blood sugar and insulin levels low
- Help you quit smoking
- Stimulate the release of chemicals and proteins that improve thinking, learning and judgment skills
- Strengthen muscles and bones
- Improve sexual health
- Lead to better sleep quality
So, there's no doubt that regular exercise is vital.
But, did you know that running is one of the best physical fitness exercises? Studies show that running strengthens your cardiovascular system and heart. It also burns excess calories and keeps you in shape.
Moreover, it's a low-cost exercise that can be done practically anywhere with nothing much but a good pair of sneakers.
But like any other exercise, running can lead to injuries, especially if you push yourself too hard. So even as you put on your running shoes to go burn some calories, here are the most common running injuries:
- Runner's knee – is also known as an overuse injury. It happens when the kneecap misaligns, causing the cartilage to wear off rapidly. Indications that your cartilage is worn out include pain in the knee when squatting, sitting for long with your knees bent, or going up/down the stairs.
- Achilles tendinopathy – is also called tendinitis. It's when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed due to repetitive stress on the tendon. This can be due to too much running or tight muscle calves. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the heel.
- A shin splint – these are characterized by pain in the anterior or interior parts of the tibia (shin bone). This injury is common after changing workout regimens, e.g., running too fast, increasing running frequency, or running longer distances. Shin splint and stress fracture may be difficult to differentiate, but with the former, the pain is more spread out along the tibia. Flat-footed people are more likely to develop shin splints.
- Stress fracture – this is characterized by pain caused by a crack in the shin bone. It usually results from overworking the body before it gets used to a new activity. This pain typically worsens with more exercise, so rest is essential.
- Muscle pull – these are also referred to as a muscle strains. It occurs when a muscle tears. A muscle pull is caused by stretching the muscles too much. When you hear a popping sound when stretching, that is most likely your muscle tearing. This injury mainly affects the hamstrings, calf, groin, and quadriceps.
- Ankle sprain – this injury results from an accidental tearing or stretching of the ligaments around the ankle. This can happen when you twist your foot inwards.
- Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome – this pain is manifested on the outer side of the knee. The iliotibial tissue ligament runs outside the thigh from the hip to the knee. This pain is caused by the thickening and subsequent rubbing of the IT ligament on the knee bone, causing swelling.
- Plantar fasciitis – is the swelling of the plantar fascia – a thick tissue at the bottom of the foot extending from the toes to the heel. It's usually characterized by severe pain in the heel, especially in the morning. Although this condition may happen inexplicably, it's more common in people with a high arch and tight calf muscles.
- Blisters – are fluid-filled sacs on the skin's surface caused by repeated friction between the skin and shoes or socks.
Even though running has immense benefits to your overall health and wellbeing, now you know that you should take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. For starters, here's how to prevent shin splints.
How to prevent shin splints when running
With data showing that over 40 million Americans hit the road every day to stay in shape, there's a 38.1 percent chance of these runners getting shin splints.
So, how do you prevent shin splints when running?
Take on more mileage gradually
Shin splints usually result from overuse, i.e., when runners—especially beginners—increase their intensity and mileage faster than their bodies can recover. It's important to avoid running when in pain.
In fact, medical experts recommend not getting back to running until you've been pain-free for at least two weeks.
Try to mix up your training exercises so that you relieve pressure from the shins. So instead of focusing solely on running, it's advisable to put aside some days for low-impact aerobic exercises that do not exert pressure on the shins.
Consider activities like biking, swimming, or aqua jogging. A change is as good as a rest, remember?
Run on soft surfaces
Hard surfaces are notorious for exerting more pressure on the bones, muscles and joints. As such, it's crucial to vary the surfaces you run on to avoid injury. So, if you're planning to run longer, dirt or grass trails are ideal.
Alternatively, run on a treadmill since it's easier on the body than sidewalks and roads.
Use the right tool for the right job
It's easier to get shin splints if your running shoes are poorly cushioned. If you can, get running shoes from running specialty stores where the experts manufacture your shoes according to your gait, the shape of your feet, and the wear patterns of your current running shoes.
It's also good practice to replace your sneakers every 350 to 500 miles when most will have lost their cushioning and stability. Over-the-counter shoe inserts can also come in handy in protecting your calves from overstretching.
If you frequently feel pain in your shin when running, it could be because your anterior tibialis muscles are weak. These muscles are located on the anterior side of the lower leg and generally help with ankle flexibility.
This part is most likely to get painful if you increase the intensity of your training too quickly as a beginner.
Strengthen these muscles by doing toe or heel raises to help prevent shin pain. You can also include stretches in your list of post-run exercises.
Here's how to do toe and heel raises:
- Take off your shoes
- Hold on to a support and stand on a step with the toes hanging over the edge
- Extend your toes far down over the edge as much as possible while keeping your heels on the step
- Pull your right foot toes upward toward the shin as much as possible and hold for a few seconds until you feel the anterior tibialis muscles contracting
- Repeat with the left foot
- Do 24 to 36 repetitions on each foot in 2-3 sets
Similarly, here's how to do heel raises. For these, you can have your shoes on if the soles are flexible enough.
- Spread your feet hip-distance apart while standing and holding onto some support, e.g., a wall or chair
- Lift your heels off the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds and feel the calf muscles (gastrocnemius) tighten
- Lower your weight slowly and repeat. For more power and stability, do these exercises one leg at a time
Stretch the calves
Before and after running, it's advisable to stretch your calves. Tight calves can cause shin pain when running, so if this happens, stop immediately and continue stretching.
You can also use a foam roller to relax the calf muscles.
Adopt a good gait
A shin splint is often attributed to your gait and how your feet strike the ground. Though common, landing on the heels or toes can potentially stress the lower leg and the calf muscles, contributing to shin splints or other injuries.
Generally, try to avoid toe running or heel striking. Ideally, make a habit of striking the surface with the middle of your foot (midsole), then push off with the toes.
CBD and running
Cannabidiol can help runners manage various pains and discomforts thanks to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. But even more importantly, CBD may help fast-track their recovery and help them maintain a top-performance state for the long term.
This is because CBD boosts your body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), thus allowing it to effectively regulate various physiological processes, including pain, stress, and immune function.
Some studies have also linked a well-functioning endocannabinoid system to the attainment of the "runner's high" – a brief but profoundly relaxing state of bliss after exercising.
If you're training for an event, it's natural to feel the pressure due to your expectations (obviously, you don't want to come last in that race). This is likely to induce stress and raise inflammation levels, making your endocannabinoid system struggle to cope.
As a result, a topping with exogenous cannabinoids like CBD gives your ECS extra firepower to maintain the much-needed body balance (homeostasis) for better recovery and overall health.
Benefits of CBD for athletes
Undoubtedly, CBD's wide range of properties may greatly help athletes and people who lead super active lifestyles.
Benefits of CBD cream for athletes
A growing body of anecdotal evidence from sportsmen and women attests that CBD can help with a number of running-related issues such as:
- Better stamina – CBD facilitates a consistent release of energy to give runners the endurance to cover more miles.
- Energy boost – research has shown that CBD may naturally energize the body. Therefore, using CBD an hour or two before running may increase energy levels and promote wakefulness leading to better performance.
- Sharper focus – CBD has been shown to promote a relaxed mind. For the discerning athlete, a relaxed mind optimizes mental clarity and concentration and enhances athletic confidence.
- Speedy recovery – fatigue causes inflammation in the body. However, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that are belived to help mitigate inflammation and repair muscles, getting them back into shape faster.
- Pain-relief – CBD's pain-relieving properties make it a natural alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that athletes often use during endurance training. NSAIDs have also been noted to have harmful side effects.
- Better sleep – most of the body's recovery processes happen during sleep. By supporting healthier sleep cycles, CBD aids their recovery and helps them get back into tip-top condition faster.
CBD cream for shin splints
Shin splints can prevent you from leading an otherwise active life. More exercises might only worsen matters putting you in a lot of pain and discomfort.
Thankfully, CBD is highly versatile and can be infused in creams, lotions, oils, and alcohol (tinctures), among other substances, to make it convenient to use.
CBD cream is ideal for shin splints because you apply it directly to the affected part. This allows the CBD to be absorbed into the skin. It then binds to TRPV-1 receptors that activate its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
So if you're looking for FDA-approved CBD creams that guarantee fast relief from pain and inflammation, here are choices worth considering.
Best CBD for athletes
Before we introduce you to these top-tier CBD products, there are several things to consider when shopping for CBD.
First, ensure that it's got the approval of the FDA. This means its safety and quality are up to medical standards.
Second, check that the carrier element is MCT oil. Besides its unique health-impacting properties, MCT oil also increases the bioavailability of the CBD product. This means more CBD ends up in your systemic circulation, enabling you to enjoy its full range of benefits.
So, without further ado, here are the best CBD products for athletes.
After a particularly strenuous running session, your muscles and joints can be in pure pain and agony! FOCL Relief Cream is designed to give you instant muscle relief thanks to a combination of powerful ingredients and premium hemp CBD that rapidly absorbs into your skin to quickly eliminate pains and aches. It also offers a welcome cooling relief that relaxes you for the rest of the day!
And as your sore muscles relax and recover, you also need mental calm and peace. This is precisely what you get with FOCL Premium CBD Drops. This CBD oil is made of organic ingredients, premium hemp CBD and MCT oil to help quickly calm your mind and soothe your body – exactly what you need after an intense training session.