How Do You Get Rid Of Shin Splints
“Shin splint — not something you hear about much anymore, but they were once a common problem in athletes who trained on hard surfaces (cinders, concrete). The name comes from an old medical term “”tibia”” + “”splinter.”” Shin splints are painful injuries that can occur anywhere along the length of the bone where there’s little padding. They usually affect only one leg, though sometimes both. If you have a history of shin splints, here are some tips to help you get rid of them.
What Causes Shin Splints?
You’re probably wondering what causes shin splints. In most cases, they result when the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your lower leg aren’t strong enough to support the weight of your foot during walking, running or other athletic activities. This weak spot may be due to muscle imbalance caused by injury, overuse or poor posture.
The bones in your lower legs don’t receive enough protection against impact while you walk, run or play sports. As you step down with each stride, pressure points form where two bones meet. When this happens repeatedly, your cartilage begins to wear away at these areas. Your joints also lose their flexibility because of inflammation, which further irritate the area. Eventually, a small fracture occurs. Pain often develops after several steps or hours, but it doesn’t mean you’ve broken anything. Instead, the symptoms will disappear within 24 hours as long as you rest your injured leg and limit activity.
When should I see a doctor?
If you experience severe pain or stiffness, especially with movement, then see your physician. He or she might prescribe physical therapy, icing or heat treatment to reduce pain. You could also try stretching exercises and massage to relieve discomfort. However, severe pain accompanied by fever, redness, warmth, swelling, increased skin temperature and tenderness should prompt immediate evaluation by your health care provider.
Can I do any self-treatment?
Yes, you can treat yourself with ice packs and ibuprofen, but it depends on the severity of your condition. For minor shin splints, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then repeat the process four times throughout the day. A similar approach works well for relief of acute Achilles tendonitis. Never put ice directly on the skin, and avoid using aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil, Motrin and Naproxen, unless directed to do so by a doctor.
For more serious cases involving fractures or dislocations, seek emergency medical attention immediately. See a doctor right away if:
Your pain lasts longer than 48 to 72 hours, even with proper treatment.
Your symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, chest pain or shortness of breath. These conditions require hospitalization.
After resting your leg and taking anti-inflammatory medications, your pain subsides within 24 hours, but it returns later.
Pain increases when moving your leg or trying to bend it.
You feel numbness in your toes or fingers.
A large bump forms under the skin near the joint.
See your doctor if you notice any of these signs.
What Can I Do To Avoid Shin Splints Long Term?
Preventing shin splints involves strengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your lower leg. Start with simple stretches and warm up routines before exercising. Then work slowly through easy movements like standing squats, side hops and lunges. Gradually increase the intensity of workouts. Follow your routine consistently to prevent shin splints. Here are three effective ways to strengthen your legs:
Warm Up Before Exercise
Before exercising, stretch gently to loosen tight muscles. Next, move into gentle motions, followed by faster stretches, with fluidity. Warm up for five to 10 minutes. Stretch the muscles in all directions, including upwards, towards the ceiling. Don’t forget to stretch the calves and ankles. After warming up, begin light jogging or walking. Walk fast and lightly for 5 minutes. Jog or walk briskly for another 5 minutes. Repeat this sequence twice more. Warm up for at least ten minutes. Keep stretching for 1 minute, then cool down for 1 minute.
Strengthening exercises improve strength and endurance without adding bulk. Focus on building muscle mass in the calf, quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors. Try performing squats, lunges, push-ups, reverse curls, dips, heel raises, hamstring curls, knee lifts and toe touches. Exercises should focus on increasing functional strength rather than developing huge muscles. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat eight to 12 times. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.
Stretching helps prepare your muscles for movement and reduces risk of shin splints. While stretching, keep your knees unlocked and slightly bent. Hold each position for thirty seconds to a minute. Repeat eight to twelve times. Be careful not to bounce as you perform stretches.
Take Extra Care With Running Shoes
Running shoes create extra pressure on your feet and lower legs. Runners who use low-cut socks or go barefoot are at greater risk of developing shin splints. Consider wearing cushioned runners or cross-training sneakers, especially if you run on hard surfaces, such as cinder tracks. Experts recommend replacing your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Worn out shoes may cause blisters or corns on the bottom of your feet, leading to shin splints. So don’t delay getting new shoes; replace them regularly. ”
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