From osteo ldn

HOW TO PREVENT, SPOT AND TREAT SHIN SPLINTS

Shin splints are very painful; you know that though, which is why you're reading this.

You can't do any of your usual sports or activities for fear of the onset of that agonizing stabbing pain. So, without further ado, let's take a look further into the causes and how to treat shin splints.

WHAT ARE SHIN SPLINTS?

Shin splints are a known generic term for pain on the medial (inside) aspect of the tibia (shin bone), which can have several different causes.

Professionals know this most well-known cause of shin pain as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SHIN TO CAUSE SUCH PAIN?

Shin splint pain is usually caused by inflammation and irritation to your shin bone lining, known as the periosteum.

The tibialis posterior and soleus muscles of the lower leg have attachments on the medial border of your shin. When your muscles start to overwork, they begin to pull on and irritate the periosteum, which then causes your symptoms.

Another school of thought is the tibia being overstressed over a long period of time from impact forces from sports such as running.

Bone is living tissue, it responds to stress, and we know that bone needs to be stressed to remodel and grow. But, when too much stress is applied over a prolonged period of time; pain can occur.

WHAT CAUSES SHIN SPLINTS, AND HOW DO YOU STOP THEM?

Usually, shin splints present themselves when you change your training. They most commonly occur when you suddenly increase the frequency and intensity of your workout.

A sudden increase in demand in a short space of time is too much for the muscles to tolerate, and they become overworked. You should increase your training volume, and intensity over a gradual, extended period.

Running on hard surfaces such as concrete will also increase your likelihood of developing shin splints; so, we recommend running on more forgiving surfaces such as grass or dirt tracks.

There are many potential causes of shin splints. But the most common reasons are:

BIOMECHANICAL INSUFFICIENCIES AND POOR FOOTWEAR

We're at risk of developing shin splints if we have overpronated (flat) or less commonly supinated (high arched) feet. To help limit this risk, it's recommended you wear the appropriate footwear and orthotics to support your feet. Also, your footwear should have good shock absorption in the heel.

MUSCLE IMBALANCES

Poor core stability and lousy hip and knee control also increase your likelihood of developing shin splints. So, it's vital to ensure you follow a comprehensive abdominal and glute strength and conditioning program.

Tight hamstrings and calf muscles also adversely affect lower limb biomechanics, so stretching and regular soft tissue work should be incorporated into your exercise program.

INSUFFICIENT WARM-UP AND COOL-DOWN PRACTICES

It's vital to make sure your body is warm before you start your training. This will ensure blood vessels which supply the muscles are adequately dilated (opened) before beginning training.

Once you've finished exercising, it's a must to cool down sufficiently to ensure you thoroughly flush the lactic acid (a waste product) from your muscles.

And, it would help if you stretched your calf muscles at the end of your cool-down exercise to ensure they don't become too tight. The tighter the muscles, the stronger the pull on the periosteum and the increased likelihood of shin splints.

HOW DO YOU TREAT SHIN SPLINTS?

An assessment from a registered therapist is imperative to diagnose the cause of shin pain accurately. However, a regular assessment and treatment plan should include the following:

- Biomechanical assessment to identify biomechanical issues and provide appropriate intervention.

- Advice regarding the use of Ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to address the pain and swelling.

- Advice regarding modification of training to create the optimum environment for healing.

- Advice regarding appropriate footwear and the provision of suitable orthotics.

- Strengthening and stretching programs for the proper muscle groups.

- Specific soft tissue mobilization (various deep tissue massage techniques).

- A graded rehabilitation program to safely guide you back to your previous level of activity.

Find out more about how our chartered Physiotherapists can help you here.

HOME REMEDIES FOR SHIN SPLINTS


To start with, change your running shoes or training shoes. Very often, your footwear can be one of the biggest causes of shin splints.

By changing the shoes you are wearing, you can significantly reduce the symptoms and pain. It would help if you made it a must to look at and try on the running shoes you buy before buying them.

Go to a sports shop specializing in sports footwear. They can give you advice as to what is wrong with your current footwear and what you can purchase or change to help you quickly feel better. It is essential to go to an excellent shop if you intend on running for a hobby.

If you can help to reduce the swelling in your shins, you can then very quickly lower the amount of pain that you suffer. Anti-inflammatory medications - both prescribed and over the counter - can help with this.

But one of the best ways to quickly reduce your swelling is with good, old fashioned ice.

You should place an icepack on the painful area for 10 to 15 minutes. You can then repeat this process several times a day, and this will help reduce any swelling and lower the pain you experience.

Frozen gel packs are also good at treating shin splints. Apply them to the tenderest area for 15 minutes to reduce the inflammation and dull the annoying pain.

Don't apply any ice directly to your skin; you want to prevent frostbite. Wrap it with a thin towel.
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NO HEAT! JUST ICE!

Do not use any heat such as heated lamps, heated creams, spas, etc. for at least 24-72 hours when symptoms are acute.

Also, do not massage the leg and do not drink a large amount of alcohol. If you do these things, you will increase bleeding, swelling, and pain.

These treatments (not alcohol ;) may help in longer-term shin splint recovery programs but do not help in the acute stage.

SHIN SPLINT EXERCISES

CALF STRETCH

- For the first exercise, you need to find a staircase. Stand on one of the steps facing the steps with both feet on the same step.

- The feet have to be together while you are exercising. Now standing on the same step, move as far back as possible; position your toes and balls of your feet on the step. The heel and the rest of the foot should be hanging in the air.

- In this position, your ankle muscles will be working to keep you in place. Now, relax your ankle muscles; this makes your body go down and stretch your calf muscle.

- Stand in this position for about thirty seconds and then relax. Do this twice.

WALKING ON YOUR HEELS

- You start off doing this by just standing with your feet together. Slowly raise the front portion of both the feet, stand in this position for about ten seconds, and slowly get back to the normal position by slowly lowering the front foot. Do this three times and twice a day.

- When you get comfortable with this, you may then start walking with just your heels. Point your toes forward and walk for about 50 feet. Then repeat the same by pointing the toes inwards and outwards. Walk three times in each position.

CALF RAISE WITH INVERSION

HOW TO FURTHER PREVENT SHIN SPLINTS

MANAGE YOUR TRAINING LOAD

Even if your body disagrees and tells you different! It's essential for you to get adequate rest between training because your body needs time to replenish and rebuild.

When your body starts to say to you, 'you feel great' or 'you can do this'; try not to do it. Take a break.

It would be best if you remembered to reduce the risk of picking up an injury, in particular shin splints. This is not an injury you need.

If you feel you need to engage in exercise that doesn't put you at risk, try things like going for a swim, rowing or cycling. Exercises that don't put impactful loads through your shins.

DON'T BUY UNCOMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR

Using the completely wrong runners can lead to a shin splint situation. If your running shoes don't have excellent grips or comfortable cushioning, you should get rid of them real fast.

If you have no idea about choosing running shoes, most stores have available people who will give you good advice. Make it a habit of changing your footwear every 3-4 months or once you have covered 300 miles.

RUN ON THE RIGHT SURFACES


Running on the pavement is just not a good idea. You put more stress on your calves and legs and irritate those lower extremity joints and muscles when you do this.

Take more care with your body and run on surfaces like grass, or dirt trails; all areas that are flat or cushioned are a great choice for runners.

IMPROVE FOOT STABILITY

To further prevent shin splints, we also recommend improving your foot stability.

This can be done by you just walking around your house without shoes or slippers. You can also try walking barefoot on the balls of your feet to really help improve the strength of your feet and your balance.

WATCH YOUR MILEAGE

Shin splints pain tends to come when you overwork your muscles and legs. If you're new to running, try not to get carried away.

If you up your training volume too quickly or you forget to take a good rest, you are allowing for complications...

Do not increase your speed or distance by more than 10% per week. Even Usain Bolt will tell you that.

CONCLUSION

Remember when treating shin splints:

- Ice, not heat!
- Always buy footwear from a good shop. Don't buy cheap footwear if you are intent on running as a hobby.
- Remember being barefoot will improve the strength of your intrinsic muscles in your feet and legs, thereby establishing much healthier feet and shins.
- Integrate thorough physiotherapy and bespoke rehab programming into your recovery.
- Manage your training volume.
- Run on the right surfaces.

If you only did these steps above - you can really manage shin splints well and limit the chances of catching them.

They're really not nice. If you have had them, you'll be nodding your head in agreement with that statement.

If you haven't, implement those steps today, start your strength and conditioning work on top and be one of the lucky ones who always stays pain-free.
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