Shin Splints – Treatment and Prevention

Shin Splints

Shin splint complaints are common among runners, especially those who regularly run on hard surfaces such as roads and pavements. Shin splints refer to pain or discomfort to the inside front of the lower leg and can be caused by a number of factors.

Inflammation of the covering around the Tibia (lower leg bone) can be one reason for the pain. You may notice swelling, redness, and small lumps when pressing down on the inside of the shin bone. The pain associated with shin splints can be present after physical activity, as well as during.

Treating shin splits

1. Stop physical activity.
2. Rest.
3. Immediately after you experience the pain apply an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to the front of the lower leg to reduce any possible swelling and inflammation. Also elevate the lower legs.
4. Over the next few days stretch the muscles of the calves.
5. Slowly return to training, possibly looking at low impact exercise to begin with, such as swimming.

For severe persisting shin splints, seek professional help.

Preventing shin splints

Shin splints can be caused by tight calve muscles, biomechanics, incorrect footwear and poor running surfaces.

  1. Thoroughly warm up prior to exercise by performing some body weight calf raises and toe raises, and ensure you slowly building up intensity during your workout.
  2. Ensure you regularly stretch the muscles of the calves. Invest in a foam roller; they are great for loosening the calves and other muscles!
  3. Buy specific running trainers which offer support and cushioning. Seek advice in a reputable sports/running shop, as you can buy trainers specifically designed for your running style and biomechanics.
  4. Running on more forgiving surfaces will help reduce the stress on the lower legs.

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