How To Prevent and Cure Shin Splints
Shin splints are injuries that occur on the front of the outer leg. Shin splints are a common injury, especially in the field of sports medicine.
What causes shin splints?
Although the exact injury is unknown, shin splints appear to be the result of inflammation due to an injury to the posterior peroneal tendon as well as the adjacent tissues that are on the front of the outer leg.
A number of different conditions, including stress fractures, exercise-induced compartment syndrome and most commonly medial tibial stress syndrome, can cause shin splints.
Frequently, shin splints are caused by overuse. The overuse causes the tendons and the attachments to the bone, which is known as medial tibial stress syndrome. The majority of the time when people use the term ‘shin splints’, they are more than likely referring to this condition.
Hard surfaces are one of the main causes of shin splints
A root cause of shin splints comes from both the muscle and the bone. The muscles connecting to the ankle are covered with fascia. Fascia is inelastic and tough. It is what holds the muscles together.
Exertion causes the muscle to expand naturally, which results in pressure that causes pain. This type of shin splint is referred to as exercise-induced compartment syndrome or exertional compartment syndrome. It is common in athletes who participate in field sports such as soccer. Shin splints are also a frequent condition for athletes who run on hard surfaces often.
Another cause for shin splints comes from deep down, all the way to the bone. It may be nothing more than a stress reaction, or it may actually be a full-scale bone fracture. Constant pounding that is endured by the skeletal system while performing such exercises as running can lead to several microscopic cracks to the bones in the leg.
With a sufficient amount of rest, the body easily repairs these cracks. However, as time goes by, the tiny cracks in the bone may lead to a complete fracture.
How to Cure Shin Splints
Most of the time, shin splints can be easily treated. Here are a few ways to ease the pain of shin splints:
- Resting and avoiding any activities that cause pain, discomfort or swelling is a good idea; however, do not stop physical activity all together. As your body heals, you can practice low impact exercises like cycling, swimming or water aerobics. If the pain in your shin is so severe that it causes you to limp, you may want to use a pair of crutches until you are able to walk as normal without any pain.
- Wrap an ice pack with a thin towel and ice down the affected shin area for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. Do this about four to eight times every day for several days to ease the pain from shin splints.
- Particularly at night, keep the affected shin elevated above your heart. You may also want to wrap the area with an elastic bandage.
- It is important to get back to your normal daily routine and usual activities gradually. If you try to resume normal activities before the shin has had a chance to heal completely, you may only prolong the pain.
How to Prevent Shin Splints from Happening
Shin splints can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions, such as:
- Wearing the right shoes to fit the sport in which you are participating is important. Runners should change shoes after no more than five hundred miles of wear.
- Especially if you have flat arches, arch supports are a great way to prevent painful shin splints.
- Decreasing the impact of your workout by adding new activities gradually and slowly increasing the intensity and session time as your body becomes stronger.
- It is important to know your limits and get adequate rest. At the first hint of pain in the shin area, stop and take a break to prevent painful shin splints.