A shin splint is the pain felt over the inner edge of your shin bone. It is a common occurrence among athletes and in those who play sports like soccer, basketball, racket ball and tennis. Initially, the pain may only appear soon after the exercise or physical activity, but if left untreated, can lead to persistent pain throughout your workout, and afterwards.
Shin splints can be a result of several things, some of which include starting exercises too aggressively without gradual progression, increasing intensity and duration of the exercises too soon, wearing worn out shoes, and anatomical deformities such as flat foot. These increase the strain on the muscles and bone of your lower legs leading to shin splints.
Here are some tips for living with shin splints:
1. Taking adequate rest is the most essential thing
Adequate, active rest is the first and foremost treatment for shin splints. The term “active rest” does not mean that you should stop your exercises and other physical activities completely. If you completely stop exercising, recovery is temporary because as soon as you start exercising again, the same condition can re-emerge.
Active rest indicates adequate rest while carrying out low impact exercises such as swimming or stationary cycling.
2. Bandaging your lower leg
If you decide to continue running for exercise, you should bandage your leg right above the ankle and up to the bottom of the knee using tape or an ace bandage. Do this before you start running, and continue to wrap your legs until the pain goes away completely. Bandaging the lower leg will not only minimize the movement of these muscles, but it will also support your leg.
3. Do some stretching exercises
Carry out stretching exercises to prevent and treat your shin splint. A calf and hamstring stretch will target your shin bone:
- Calf stretching – Place yourself in a half-lung position with your toes pointing forward with one leg, and the back leg kept straight. Now stretch your calf muscle by pressing the heel of your back foot towards the floor, while keeping the front leg stationary. You will feel your calf muscles stretch. Repeat for the opposite leg.
- Hamstring stretch – Stand straight with feet together. Place your right foot forward with the heel touching the ground. Slightly bend your left leg, and lower your upper body towards the straight leg until you feel the thigh muscles or hamstring stretching. Repeat for the other leg.
4. Never do too much too soon
Never start with high impact exercises if you do not have any experience with it before. Always increase the intensity and duration of your exercises and physical activities slowly and progressively. Do not increase the intensity and duration more than 10% per week.
5. Carefully select your footwear
The shoes you wear while exercising plays a big role in preventing shin splints. Choose a pair of shoes that are comfortable for you, and also have motion and stability properties. Avoid running barefoot or wearing worn out shoes.
- A shin splint is the pain felt over the inner edge of your shin bone.
- Active rest means that you take an adequate amount of rest while carrying out low impact exercises such as swimming and stationary cycling.
- Adequate, active rest is the first and foremost treatment for a shin splints.