Shin splints refer to the pain you feel in the inner aspect of your shin bone. It is common among athletes and those involved with high-intensity exercises.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
If you have shin splints, you may develop a severe pain either at the beginning or at the end of your run or workout. If you develop the pain over the anterior aspect of the shin bone, then it is known as an anterior shin splint. However, if it develops over the posterior aspect, it is known as a posterior shin splint.
What causes shin splints?
Overworking your leg muscles is the most common cause of shin splints. It is commonly seen in new runners and those who resume running activities after a long period of time. It can also occur in well-trained athletes if they suddenly increase their mileage or speed of running.
If you are not wearing comfortable shoes, then it could also be a reason why you may develop shin splints. The use of comfortable and motion-controlling shoes can help to prevent shin splints.
It is very important to have an adequate rest if such condition develops, or else, it can lead to stress fractures, which will worsen your condition. Sometimes, having shin splints can permanently stop you from doing all the sports you love.
Can I walk if I have shin splints?
Any doctor would advise you to give your body the rest it needs to heal the shin splints effectively and quickly. However, when doctors say rest, they do not mean a complete bed rest, but rather an active rest. Active resting means that you switch to low-intensity workouts rather than doing what you were doing when you first developed the shin splints. You can definitely walk even if you have shin splints.
You can do more than walking while having shin splints. As you improve the strength of your calf muscles, shin splints will go away faster. You can achieve this by doing some stretching and strengthening exercises.
What precautions do I have to take?
- Do not overstrain your calf muscles - If you are walking, walk at a constant speed, and gradually increase your speed over time.
- Choose your walking shoes wisely - Wear a set of comfortable shoes with flexible soles and low heels. Choose a pair of shoes that can be easily flexed and bent. Also, keep in mind that the shoes you wear should be flat and not have a built-up heel.
- Strengthen your calf muscles – Do some stretching and strengthening exercises such as toe raises and shin stretches to improve the strength of your calf muscles.
- Walk on a smooth surface – Choose a soft walking path such as grass, dirt, or cinder walking paths rather than walking on rough surfaces like concrete.
- Walk every other day – Do not overwork your muscles. Give it time to rest. Walk every other day until the pain completely disappears.
- Put ice on your shins before walking – Apply some ice over the shins before your walk and again after your walk. Apply the ice for about 20 minutes.
- Warm up exercises before a walk – Carry out some warm up exercises before you walk, especially before a fast-paced walk.
- Rest if your shins begin to hurt – Slow down your speed if your shins begin to hurt and if the pain does not seem to go away, stop walking immediately and take a rest.