Shin splints - most people have felt this pain but did not understand what it was.
Shin splints cause you to feel pain along the front side of your lower leg, at the shin bone. The shin, or tibia, is the inner and more prominent of the two bones on your lower leg. The smaller bone is called the fibula. When you suffer a shin splint injury, you experience pain that runs between your knee and ankle.
What Are The Main Causes of Shin Splints?
A shin splint is an overuse injury. The medical term for shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). It occurs in athletes whose training routines have intensified or changed. The increased activity overworks your tendons, bone tissues, and muscles. The repeated stress and pounding on these tissues also make it difficult for the cells to repair and restore themselves. With increased use and pressure on your leg, the pain and swelling intensify.
Shin splints are the precursors for the development of fractures on bones. The excessive pressure causes minute cracks to form in the bones of your leg. If you let your leg relax for some time, the body can repair these cracks by itself. If the pressure continues and the body gets no rest, the tiny cracks graduate into a stress fracture or a complete fracture.
Examples of games whose players are likely to develop shin splints are racquetball, basketball, tennis, and soccer. The resultant pain is so intense; you may not be able to play anymore.
What Are The Risk Factors For Shin Splints?
You are at risk of developing shin splints if you have the following factors:
The diagnosis for shin splints begins with a review of your medical history and a comprehensive physical exam. The doctors may also request that you have an X-ray or other imaging to determine the cause of your pain better since you may already have a fracture.
How Do You Heal Shin Splints?
For most people, shin splints heal with the implementation of some simple self-care steps. They include:
1.Use ice packs
Get ice packs and apply them to the injury site for 15-20 minutes at a time. Do it 4-8 times each day until the pain subsides. Since the extreme cold could harm your skin, get a thin towel and wrap it on your ice packs.
2.Allow your legs to rest for some time
Take some time off to rest your feet, and keep them elevated. Avoid the activities that cause you discomfort, pain, and swelling. If you still wish to exercise, engage only in low-impact exercises like riding a bicycle, water running, and swimming.
3.Take some pain relief medicine
Buy some over-the-counter pain control pills like ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) to bring down the pain you are feeling.
4.Use a foam roller
A foam roller helps to bring down the tension, soreness, and inflammation in your muscles. It also improves your range of motion and flexibility. Using a foam roller also offers relief from back pain.
5.Put on some elastic compression bandages
Along with using ice packs on your shin, resting and elevating your leg, it would also help if you wrapped the lower leg with a compression bandage. The bandage compresses your leg muscles, reduces movements that cause discomfort, and reduces pain from shin splints.
Once your pain has gone down, you can resume your activities but only do it gradually.
How Do You Get Rid of Shin Splints Fast?
Shin splints may slow you down, but luckily, you can do something to quicken your recovery.
The first method, described above, is the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method. This process, accompanied by over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medication, will have your shin feeling better in a few days.
The second strategy is stretching your shins. Stretch your shins slowly and gently to relieve tension after resting your foot for days. Also, take up exercises that can free up your ankle and calf muscles.
The third strategy is to prevent shin splints in the first place. Wear the proper running shoes. Invest in some high-quality athletic shoes fitted with orthotic shoe inserts to cushion your feet and absorb the stress from running. With the right shoes, you can then take up some low-impact exercises like walking and biking to build up your endurance and lessen your leg pain. Strength training strengthens your shin and calf muscles and helps prevent shin splints. Do it with some toe raises while holding lighter-weight dumbbells in your hands. When a certain weight becomes easy, add to that weight progressively.
How Do You Know If You Have Shin Splints?
You know that you have shin splints if you notice any of their signs and symptoms. Here are some common ones:
Can You Still Run With Shin Splints?
Running while you have shin splints is highly discouraged. Exercise exerts more pressure and exacerbates the pain of shin splints. It also increases the damage on your bone, causing the formation of stress fractures. You may also develop compartment syndrome, a painful condition that forms when the pressure in your muscles increases to dangerous levels. The pressure causes decreased blood flow, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle and nerve cells.
So, while you're still hurt, avoid running for a while. Please wait until the shin splint pain has decreased, and when it has, do not train with the same intensity as you did before. Start slow, and increase the intensity gradually. It takes 2-6 weeks to heal from shin splints fully. But, runners whose shin is more irritable may have to wait for up to 6 months for their injury to heal completely.
Where Should You Go for Shin Splint Treatment In Georgia?
If you're looking for shin splint injury treatment, consider coming to Atlanta Bone and Joint Specialists, the premier resource for orthopedic therapy. Our board-certified doctors have extensive experience treating shin splints and other orthopedic injuries. Visit us in any of our three locations in Decatur, Snellville, and Loganville. You can also call us or write to us on our website to request an appointment.