"The term shin splints is a name often given to any pain at the front of the lower leg. However, true shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone and can arise from a number of causes." My "true" shin splints occur when I run fast or down a hill. However, many people experience shin splints all of the sudden without any change in running terrain or speed. These people are probably experiencing shin splints because of overuse. All of these things can cause inflammation in the shins and that's where the shin splints come from.
What's the treatment, doc? I've found several different things you can do for treatment. The biggest one is to rest the legs. Tone down the training or give yourself a few days to recover. Whatever you do, just rest a bit. You might try something with low-impact like swimming for a while. Massage (which helps condition the legs muscles), icing and using heat also help. If you choose massage, I highly recommend going to a professional. If done incorrectly, you could actually make the situation worse. You can also use some anti-inflammatory painkillers for relief, but in the end, you need to look at your running technique and what you strap to your feet before a run. If your feet turn outward or inward while running, this is a problem. If your shoes are not supportive enough, this too is a problem. Fix these problems and your days with shin splints might just go away. A good shoe can fix many of the woes we experience as runners.
Rarely, shin splints are actually caused by small stress fractures in the shin. This is rare, but possible. I would suggest that if the above methods are doing anything, then you need to get checked out.
Source: The Sports Injury Clinic
THE SIDE ACHE
There are a few things you can do to help you quickly recover, while running, and get rid of your side ache. Obviously stopping will help, but what if you don't want to stop. Well then, check your breathing. If you're taking short, rapid breaths, you need to concentrate on taking in longer, deeper breaths. You might need to accompany this with a slower pace for a while. "This technique alone will often bring many runners some relief. Then, as you pick up speed again, remember to add a very deep breath every so often."
"Other methods are also related to how and when we breath during running. Some runners have reported relief from side stitches by focusing on somewhat forceful exhaling while running hard. They purse their lips and force the air out for several breaths, as if blowing out candles on a birthday cake. "
You'll probably need to try several different methods of breathing before you find what works for you. It all depends on what is causing the ache, so experiment and soon that side ache will subside. You may also want to check your posture. If you are leaning too far foward or backward, you could be putting to much strain on the muscles and ligaments surrounding your abdomen and diaphragm. I find that the straighter I keep my posture when running, the better I run and the easier I run.
Source: The Dreaded Side Stitch
Comment time: What have you done to successfully get rid of either side aches or shin splints in the past? Share your experiences with us!