Shin Splints is a common condition experienced by runners and walkers. It is caused by inflammation in the area around your shin bone (hence the name). The inflamed area can span from 2-6 inches and the pain can be intense enough to cause the person to stop running or walking. Fortunately there are options for treatment as well as prevention.
Stretching is a good way to relieve pain resulting from shin splints. You can stretch while sitting on your heels with your toes pointed back, pushing your ankles to the floor. You should feel some tension in your shin. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and then repeat the procedure.
Switch to another workout
If you are running or walking, then switch to an alternative routine as soon as the pain hits. This could be swimming, biking or any other exercise that doesn’t make the pain worse.
This might seem counterproductive, but increasing the frequency of your stride will actually decrease the impact on your shinbone each time your foot hits the ground.
If the pain is severe and prolonged enough you should consult a qualified medical practitioner. Your doctor can recommend more appropriate treatment options.
Avoid Hills and Hard Surfaces
If you experience pain, avoid excessively hard surfaces or hills. If you are going to be running on such surfaces, use them sparingly and gradually.
Prevention is just as effective as treatment. Before you start running or walking, make sure your shoes are appropriate in terms of size and texture. Sometimes it might be good to alternate between pairs to vary the levels of shock absorption by your shin bones. If you frequent roads, then stick to one side of the road for consistency. Stretching on a regular basis can also be a preventative measure as well as a treatment.
Your doctor might also suggest orthotics as both a treatment and a preventative measure. Orthotics realign the foot to a more natural position and reduces the likelihood of a shin splint. Finally calcium and vitamin D supplements can help reduce the likelihood of shin splints and other related injuries. If your bones are strengthened then they can better absorb the shock that comes with prolonged periods of running and walking. In some cases you simply need to take a break from your activity to allow the body to heal itself.
If you suffer from shin splints, then talk to your doctor or have a consultation with one of our physiotherapists. We can help you find treatment options or products to prevent shin splints.