08 Jan How to Overcome Shin Splints
With the News that Philadelphia Sixers Justin Anderson will be out for at least another week with Shin splints – it’s easy to see why the condition can be debilitating for both high profile athletes or an enthusiastic amateur jogger. The pain of shin splints doesn’t go away easily and can be a recurring problem. It is sometimes less frustrating to have a serious injury like a break that sidelines you for months – whereas shin splints are on and off and some struggle with the pain for years. So what are shin splints and how can you overcome them?
What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are known in medicine as medial tibial stress syndrome. That’s because there is pain along the medial (inner side) side of the tibia bone of your lower leg. They occur when repeated trauma occurs to the connective tissue around the bone.
If you have shin splints you will experience the following symptoms:
- Pain in the shin bones
- The pain comes on after exercise
- When you stop running, the pain will gradually fade away – although some people do get pain even when they are resting
- When the pain first comes on – it is usually dull but as you continue to run it may feel like a sharp stabbing pain
How Do I Stop Shin Splints from developing?
Often your shoes are the underlying cause. If you just started out running a few months ago you might not have invested in a good expensive pair of running trainers, but you probably should. Hannah Zreik of BUPA talked to athletics weekly about preventing shin splints and said
‘Other reasons can be poor flexibility or poor core and lower body strength”
If you are out on the pavement a lot – it may be worth having one or two sessions a week in the gym training your core.
Also talking to athletics weekly Matt Todman of Sixphysio recommended training the muscles around your shin by walking barefoot on your heels every day for a few minutes
“It really helps strengthen the muscles in the shin are”
In summary – if you haven’t got shin splints at the moment but are running a lot you should do the following
- Invest in some good trainers
- Walking on the balls of your feet
- Work on your core strength
I have shin splints – how do I treat them?
Treatment for shin splints can often be frustrating, and many runners try and treat them on their own. However getting help from a specialist orthotics clinic can make all the difference. Treatment at home can include the following:
- Rest – Don’t run on it!
- Ice on the area can help reduce the swelling. Do this every day
- Pain relief with ibuprofen. Anti Inflammatories will reduce the swelling.
- Low impact activities like cycling or swimming can help if you need to train but don’t want to aggravate the problem
You may find this does not work – and a specialist clinic can help you get physiotherapy or if the problem is severe be referred to the surgical team.