What are shin splints?
Shin splints are small tears in the leg muscles where they attach to the shinbone. Shin splints are characterized by pain in the front (anterior) or inside (posterior) aspect of the lower leg, due to overexertion of the muscles. Pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and may begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (tibia) after running or walking. Small bumps and tender areas may develop adjacent to the shinbone. If left untreated, pain can become more intense and lead to an increased risk of developing stress fractures. Shin splints are common, especially among runners and other athletes.
What causes shin splints?
Shin splints are caused by stress on the anterior leg muscles from running or jumping, especially on the toes, or on hard surfaces. Wearing worn-out athletic shoes without enough shock absorption can contribute to shin splints. Overpronation (flat feet) and high arches can also lead to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercise.
How do you treat and prevent shin splints?
The best way to prevent shin splints is to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, wear footwear with good shock absorption, and avoid running on hard surfaces or excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. Insoles or orthotics that offer arch support for overpronation are also recommended.
Treatment for shin splints should include taking a break from the pain-causing exercise. Icing the area immediately after exercise can also be effective, along with gentle stretching before and after training. Aspirin or ibuprofen may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
It is important to avoid training through the pain of shin splints. Runners should decrease mileage for about a week and avoid hills or hard surfaces. If a muscle imbalance, poor running form, or flat feet are causing the shin splints, a long-term solution might involve a stretching and strengthening program and orthotics to support the foot and correct overpronation. In more severe cases, ice massage, electrostimuli, heat treatments, and ultrasound treatments might be used.
If the problem persists, consult your doctor. Your Fit Specialist at Stan’s will advise you on appropriate footwear for your condition.
Courtesy of foot.com