UVA Researchers Find Outdoor Gait Training Benefits Treadmill Runners, Shin Splints

July 9, 2024 by

David J. Hryvniak, DO

David J. Hryvniak, DO

Good news for all the treadmill runners who suffer from stubborn and painful shin splints: A little outdoor gait training may help, new research suggests.

A randomized controlled trial found that four weeks of gait training outdoors, in addition to home exercises often prescribed for shin splints, led to improved running biomechanics even when the runners were using a treadmill. These improvements included decreasing the time the runners’ feet were in contact with the ground or treadmill, a recently identified contributor to shin splints.

Based on the trial results, the researchers, including UVA Health sports medicine expert David J. Hryvniak, DO, are recommending that clinicians begin including outdoor gait training as part of rehabilitation programs for patients struggling with chronic shin splints.

“This is an important finding for clinicians, as this gives us a tool to use to help these runners,” said Hryvniak, a running medicine specialist who is part of UVA Health’s Runner’s Clinic. “These gait-training cues can be an easy thing to add into a rehab program to help patients improve running mechanics that can underlie many common running injuries.”

Read more in the UVA Health newsroom.

Filed Under: Clinical, Research