What's the most common injury among casual runners? Shin splints, said Ray Pugsley, co-owner of Potomac River Running Store in Ashburn. Shin splints are sharp pains either in the front of your shinbone, from too much impact shock, or along the inside of that bone, caused by over-pronation -- the rolling of your foot to the inside.
Front bone pain is usually due to inadequate or worn-out cushioning in your shoes. (If your midsoles are wrinkled, the cushioning is shot.)
In over-pronation, "your arch cannot bear the weight of the roll, and your foot flattens out," Pugsley said. "This stresses the soft tissue that runs up the inside of your shin."
The solution to both problems is a shoe with good cushioning and stability -- lateral support that prevents the foot from rolling.
Shoe stability runs from minimal -- called "cushion" or "neutral" -- to maximal, called "motion control." Why not just buy a motion control shoe? "That could over-stabilize you and cause other issues," Pugsley said. (To learn what level of stabilization you need, have an expert at a running store watch you run and judge your level of over-pronation.)
For severe shin pain, periodically ice your shins, take an anti-inflammatory drug and wait until you can walk pain-free before running again. "If you have to alter your gait at all due to pain," Pugsley said, don't run. No Moving Crew chat this week. But jog online next Thursday at 11 a.m. to talk safe running and summer fitness: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/liveonline/health/movingcrew.
-- John Briley