Relief for Shin Splints
If you are an athlete of any kind you have likely experienced aches and pains throughout your body. Whether you perform a specific sport, or you’re an avid runner, or just enjoy exercising overall, you know that it has to be done with great care and precision to avoid injury. One of the most common causes of pain across all spectrums of athleticism is shin splints. There is no specific cause or direct injury that results in shin splints. Runners, gymnasts, dancers, even military recruits can all experience pain in the shin area when they are working and performing at an intense level. But what exactly are shin splints? Why do they happen, and how can they be treated?
The most basic definition of a shin splint, is pain along the shin bone, or tibia. This is the area below your knee, and above your ankle. The shin can be a delicate area because there is minimal muscle or fat to protect that part of your leg. This is why it is common to see people wearing shin protection, such as shin guards and pads, worn most commonly by soccer players. As smart as it is to wear these guards as protection in the case of contact sports, they don’t always protect you from shin splints. The pain associated with shin splints are not from direct physical contact to that part of the leg, but from over exertion and increase in strain on the bone and tendons of the shin.
Although increase in physical activity or intensity of workouts is typically the most common cause of shin splints, there are a few other factors that can contribute to the pain, such as:
● Flat feet or overpronation of your heel
● Shoes that either don’t fit well or provide proper support
● Failure to warm up or cool down after a workout
● Weak ankles, hips, or core muscles
Shin splints are painful, and that pain can be felt in a variety of ways depending on the person and what activity they are performing. Most commonly, it feels like a sharp, stabbing-like pain that happens suddenly during physical exertion. It can also be felt as a dull, throbbing sensation that lasts much longer. In some people, it happens only during exercise, and in some it can be felt long after.
There are a number of things that you can do when experiencing shin splints that can provide relief and support to the shin area, including:
● Rest! There is nothing more simple and productive then resting your body when it is injured
● Ice your shin. By icing the area for 20-30 minutes, 2 to 3 times daily, you can reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing
● Add insoles or orthotics to shoes. The extra cushion and support to the foot will provide relief to the shin and entire leg
● Wear a compression sleeve. Compression to the shin and the calve will increase oxygen and blood flow, promoting healing and reducing pain and inflammation
● Stretching! Simply stretching your legs and hips, and increasing muscle flexibility will provide further protection to the shin
Luckily, shin splints can be self-resolving with the proper self-care as previously mentioned, meaning you can avoid a trip to the doctors office. This is why it is important to take shin splints seriously, and take the time to rest and let your body heal before continuing with exercise. Failure to treat shin splints can lead to further damage of the area, such as a stress fracture or tendinitis. The more you do to take care of your body, and protect it from further injury, the more successful you will be in your sport or activity.
Go-PadZ offers a complete stackable Compression System to speed recovery from Shin Splints and other injuries.