What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints, also called tibial stress syndrome, is a general term for pain felt in your tibia (shin bone) during or after running or exercise. Shin splints is not just a single injury, but rather it is the production of pain that is sign of an injury to either the shin bone, lower leg muscles or the foot.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin splints can be caused by swollen, overused muscles in the lower leg or feet, over-use/stress on the bones of the lower leg or feet, or the result of the leg absorbing too much of the impact of running because of a foot problem. Shin splints can occur because a runner increases their exercise routine too quickly, changes running surfaces frequently (treadmill, track, road, concrete), or has older, worn out shoes that can’t absorb shock as well anymore.
How Do I Know If I Have Shin Splints?
Shin splints are most commonly associated with pain in the shin area. This pain is most often a constant ache, but sometimes can become more severe, sharp pain. Most often, the pain is present during exercise and is relieved once you rest. However, some people note pain after exercise and even constant pain in their shins.
What Can I Do To Treat Shin Splints?
If you are having shin pain, the best things to do are to decrease your exercise intensity, rest and ice your shin for 15 minutes 2-3 times a day. Also, taking anti-inflammatory medicine (as directed on the bottle) will help relieve pain and swelling. A visit to Fleet Feet to have your feet and gait pattern analyzed will get you into properly fitted shoes and inserts that will support your feet and absorb the impact of running so less stress is transferred to your lower leg. Also consider compression socks or a neoprene calf sleeve to provide compression, support and warmth to the lower leg.
If these tips don’t permanently relieve your pain, you may have a more serious medical condition that requires a physician’s evaluation.