Can I Use The Elliptical Trainer With Shin Splints?

We all know running is the quickest, easiest and most effective form of physical activity. It is pretty easy, and most people can do it with minimum supervision. However, like any exercise, running can be prone to injuries.

Shin splints are the most common running injuries. If you feel pain in your shin after a daily workout or a run, shin splints might be the reason.

Shin splints are also called medial tibial stress syndrome. The shinbone is under stress, and the connective tissues get inflamed, which are attached to your bones.

But Can I Use The Elliptical Trainer With Shin Splints? You can use the elliptical with shin splints because it is a low impact exercise, meaning you do not place excessive force on the shins. When you place your feet on the pedals of an elliptical, the feet stay on it for the entire workout. This motion has minimum impact on your shins, making it safe to use if you have shin splints. An elliptical makes your upper and lower body work and incorporates multiple joints.

What might cause shin splints? Flat feet, improper shoes that don’t fit well or provide good support, working out without warmup or cooldown stretches, and weak ankles, hips, or core muscles may be causing shin splints.

If you have shin splints, do not push yourself too hard. While rest and simple activities can resolve the problem, one should not go through it.

The pain might worsen and lead to other severe conditions like stress fracturestendinitis or compartment syndrome. One must consult an expert physician to rule out these conditions.

If you have been suffering from an injury, it doesn’t mean that you need to stop exercising altogether.

Outside of a stress fracture, bone stress, or symptoms that surface as soon as you run, you may consider running on non-consecutive days to ease the pain. Running for short distances can be another trick to minimise stress when you have just started to run.

If you are trying to recover from shin splints, an elliptical machine is just what you need. Excessive running is one of the leading causes of shin splints. Running on rough terrain, running downhill, and quick start and stop motions are apparent reasons for having shin splints.

Running activates your tibialis anterior, but you must point your toes upward. This activation doesn’t happen on an elliptical machine. While moving back and forth, your feet remain stable, and there is an isometric contraction of the anterior tibialis muscles keeping your shins stress free.

This isometric movement holds a contraction without repetitive motion, giving you the best results.

How to Use Cross Trainer With Shin Splints?

Ellipticals machines provide a low-impact workout which is excellent for the joints. An elliptical gives an effective cardio workout getting you to sweat and burn calories without putting too much stress on shins and other joints.

They are a piece of go-to cardiovascular exercise equipment for people with lower-body injuries who still want to burn a significant amount of calories. These stationary exercise machines are found in gyms and feature simulations of activities such as walking, running or stair climbing, with almost no lower body impact.

Can I Use The Elliptical Trainer With Shin Splints?

If you’re a relatively new runner or have shin splints, adding one elliptical session a week can increase volume and aerobic capacity without subjecting your legs to extra pounding. Trainers usually recommend this for those transitioning to running, for example, training for their first marathon.

Some important things to consider while using an elliptical include : 

  1. Do not slouch; stay upright.
  2. Keep shuffling the routine.
  3. Keep track of your progress while working out.

A cross trainer will allow you to maintain cardiovascular endurance while ensuring a stress-free shin region. 

  • If you have shin splints, you must ideally start the exercise with a few stretches. Stretches loosen and relax your lower leg muscles. 
  • Ankle bounces lengthen the calf muscles on the back of the lower legs. While in motion, the dynamic stretches are done. 
  • Some corrective exercises for shin splints are toe taps and heel walks. These exercises strengthen the anterior tibialis muscles. To do toe taps, stand or sit with your heels on the floor and toes in the air. 
  • Carefully tap the floor with your toes and lift them back into the air. 
  • After you finish, do not forget to cool down and stretch. Stretch the muscles of your lower legs. Alternate pointing and flexing your feet to pull the calves. Applying ice to your shins post-workout might be a good idea to reduce swelling and heat to reduce inflammation.

Is it Safe to use Elliptical trainer with Shin Splints?

Usually, ellipticals are safe to use if you suffer from shin splints and are great for low-impact exercises, but repetitive motion can cause overuse injuries. The strain or putting your body into a fixed position with constant motion over an extended period can strain joints and muscles.

The best way is to switch modes and avoid having the same repetitive routine. Recovering from shin splints or other injuries is a good time to gain the benefits of strength training, which, if done cautiously, can provide cardiovascular benefits. In addition, strength training is key to avoiding future shin splints and other lower-body injuries by developing the supportive muscles surrounding the joints and tissues of the lower body.

A major drawback of using an elliptical is that it moves in a locked pattern, and you can’t use it to focus on running form. Runners who need to focus more on their technique won’t achieve that on the elliptical. It can be an excellent tool for runners who want to prevent injury or who intend to avoid monotony in their fitness routine.

Another thing that happens while using an elliptical is that your feet never leave the pedals, and your ankles do not move as they do while walking, which may cause reduced circulation and occasional discomfort in your feet and ankles.

Pause and shift your feet on the pedals after every few minutes so that you feel minimum pain. It is critical to have an elliptical trainer that fits your stride length well.

To conclude, ellipticals or cross-trainers offer a fantastic workout option. Still, one must weigh both the pros and cons and then, depending on the injury or fitness level, go ahead with the workout on an elliptical.

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MSc Biotechnology and Healthcare Communications Professional

Science content writer, editor. A postgraduate in Biotechnology with extensive content writing experience in Healthcare, Biotech, and Clinical research. Therapy Areas include but are not limited to Diabetes, Oncology, Virology, Immunology.