Shin Splints 101

Posted by 116789024 on | 0 comments Tags: calf sleeves, shin brace, Shin Sleeve, shin sleeves, shin support, Slant Board

Most athletes have a pretty good understanding of basic injuries but shin splints is a condition  that is widely misunderstood. Actually shin splints really aren't an individual medical condition. The term shin splints is really a description of of symptoms that could be caused by a number of things. The main symptom is pain at the front of the lower leg. Normally the pain is on the outer edge of the middle part of the leg by the shinbone in an area 4-6 inches in length.
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These pain  symptoms might be caused by:

  • Inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tibia bone
  • Stress fractures in the lower leg bone
  • Flat feet or over pronation that causes the arch of the foot to collapse
  • A tight achilles tendon or weak ankle muscles
Typically shin splints develop when there is an increase the intensity of your workout or an increase in your running (or walking) distance. Runners can also get shin splints if they change the surface they run on from soft to hard.
Treatment Like most injuries, total rest would be the optimal way to treat shin splints. That's not a very realistic option for serious athletes. Most physical trainers recommend a more realistic balanced approach: 1) Switch to non-stress activities like bicycling to maintain cardiovascular fitness 2) Cold therapy (ice compression wrap or ice bag) on the shin (see my cold therapy blog for application hints) 3) Use anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofin to help with the pain and swelling. Since there are side effects associated with an anti-inflammatory they should only be used occasionally (unless your doctor says otherwise) 4) A shin sleeve made of neoprene to support and promote blood flow in the leg 5) Insoles or arch supports if you have flat feet 6) Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the leg How to prevent shin splints Here's some tips on how to avoid shin splints from my friend Mike Walden, founder of the online Sports Injury Clinic: 1) Gradually introduce hard surface training 2) Wear shock absorbing insoles and make sure your athletic shoes are in good condition 3) Stretch the calf and other lower leg muscles 4) Get a regular deep tissue sports massage 5) Apply cold therapy after training 6) Use a shin sleeve or preventative tape your shins (Mike's video on shin taping techniques)

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