Prevention and Treatment of Shin Splints

Photo Credit: Andrey CC-BY-2.0
Runners. joggers, athletes and others who engage in high-impact aerobic exercise or sports can suffer from shin splints. Shin splints is a painful condition of the tibia and lower leg. The tibia is the large bone in the front of the lower leg, often called the shin bone. Force exerted on the shin can injure the tendons and connective tissues that attach the muscles to the tibia resulting in pain, swelling and sometimes redness. Shin splints can be very painful and may last for a few days to a week. See a doctor if swelling or redness persists and pain does not begin to subside within a few days. You can treat shin splints with ice to reduce the swelling and an over-the-counter pain reliever with an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen. 
You can prevent shin splints by taking  a few simple precautions. Wear a shoe designed for the type of activity you want to engage in. Runners and joggers should wear a shoe with a good arch support and enough padding to cushion the impact of the foot hitting the ground. Replace your shoes when they begin to show wear, usually after about 350 miles of wear. If you still experience shin pain, even with a good shoe, consider adding arch supports. A podiatrist can help you select an appropriate size arch support to relieve the stress on  your shin and support your feet comfortably. 
You can reduce the chance of suffering shin splints by cross-training and running on alternate days. Try swimming one day and running the next followed by bicycling before running again. You will help protect your shins from injury. Cross-training is also an excellent way to keep your whole body in shape. Strength train your leg muscles to strengthen the muscle and tendons attached to the shin. Lift weights with your legs and perform crunches and other exercises that will strengthen all the muscles of your legs. 

For more information about shin splints, see:
Mayo Clinic, Shin Splints

One Response to Prevention and Treatment of Shin Splints

  1. James Black says:

    I always get the worst shin splints. Thanks for sharing this article. I learned a lot of new things…

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