The term "shin splints" refers to pain in the lower front leg, and it is usually caused by overworking the muscles, tendons, and bones, which results in microscopic tears in those tissues. Pain is the number one symptom, and it can be quite severe. Fortunately, though, the pain will most likely go away on its own with the right at-home treatment.
Common Causes Of Shin Splints
Pain in the shins is most often caused by prolonged running, jumping, or landing on hard surfaces. It frequently occurs when athletes increase the training or change their routine. Working out without warming up first and wearing shoes that don't support the arches are also contributing factors.
Symptoms Of Shin Splints
The pain of shin splints is most often described as a dull ache that persists after exercising, but it can also a be sharp pain that occurs each time a foot hits the ground, especially while running. The pain is focused on the front of the lower leg. Other symptoms can include redness, swelling, skin that is hot or tender to the touch, and numbness in the feet.
Treatments For Shin Splints
Most people do not need to see a doctor in order to treat shin splints. The first thing to do is rest from exercise. The legs need to rest long enough for the micro-tears to heal, which can take several weeks. Ice packs (applied for 10 to 15 minutes at a time) can help bring down swelling and calm inflammation. Shoe inserts or Mueller braces and supports for the ankles can also help protect the lower legs throughout the healing process.
Preventing Shin Splints
To prevent shin splints, athletes should make sure to warm up sufficiently before exercising. When the muscles are warm, they are softer and stretchier and less likely to tear. Another preventive step is to pay attention to the body and back off at the first sign of pain. It's also important to wear the right shoes for the activity. An orthopedist or podiatrist can usually recommend shoes and shoe inserts to help prevent shin splints.
Athletes and casual runners are likely to get shin splints eventually, especially if they increase the intensity of their exercise routine. By following these tips and using extra support, like Mueller braces and supports, people can protect their legs and avoid debilitating pain. However, people with leg pain should consider seeing a doctor if the pain doesn't get better after a week or two of resting.