What Are Shin Splints?
The term Shin Splints is a name often given to any pain at the front of the lower leg. However, ‘true’ shin splints symptoms occur at the front inside of the shin bone.
Many athletes get shin splints (aka Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) at some point. Whether you jog daily or just dash to catch the train, you can get shin splints.
I got Shin Splints after a cross country run (loosely known as out of control sliding with style!) down through very steep woodlands on Box Hill last year!!
While they often heal on their own, severe shin splints can be a problem.
Causes Of Shin Splints
Shin splints are a symptom of an underlying problem, generally be caused by:
- Overuse, tight muscles.
- Stress fractures (tiny, hairline breaks in the lower leg bones)
- Over-pronation or ”flat feet”, which is when the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons. Read about Orthotics here.
Shin splints are very common. They are the cause of 13% of all running injuries. Runners might get them after increasing the intensity of their running or changing the surface they run on from a relatively soft surface to a hard surface. Shin splints are also common in dancers.
Shin Splint Symptoms :
- Pain over the inside lower half of the shin.
- Pain at the start of exercise which often eases as the session continues
- Pain often returns after activity and may be at its worse the next morning.
- Sometimes swelling.
- Lumps and bumps may be felt when feeling the inside of the shin bone.
- Pain when the toes or foot are bent downwards.
- A redness over the inside of the shin (not always present).
Treating Shin Splints
- Rest to allow the injury to heal.
- Apply ice or cold therapy in the early stages, particularly when it is very painful.
- Stretch to prevent and assist recovery… Read More
- Wear shock absorbing insoles in your shoes, this will help reduce the stress on the lower leg.
- Maintain fitness with other non weight bearing exercises such as swimming, cycling or running in water.
- Apply heat and use a heat retainer or shin and calf support after the initial acute stage and particularly before training. This can provide support and compression to the lower leg helping to reduce the strain on the muscles. It will also retain the natural heat which causes blood vessels to dilate and increases the flow of blood to the tissues to aid healing.
Massage for rehabilitation is very important and will assist in a speedy recovery.
Getting Back To Running Post Shin Splints.
After about two weeks (generally) Shin Splint symptoms have generally resolved you can reinstate your running training programme using the following restrictions:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises (twice a day).
- Running on level and soft terrain is best.
- Limit your distance to 50% of that tolerated pre-injury.
- Reduce your intensity (pace) by one half.
- Only then can a gradual increase in pace be attempted,.
- Over a three to six-week period, a gradual increase in distance is allowed.
Did you know that as part of your Maga Sports Therapy you will receive home care stretch advice to prevent or treat shin splints… Book your appointment here!
Would you like more about stretching? Click here!