Shin splints are perhaps one of the most common sports injuries for athletes. This is especially common with runners. Most athletes have experienced shin splints, but are not familiar with the sensation or treatment resonated with the injury. With proper education, athletes are able to take the necessary steps to assist with prevention and understand the symptoms when applicable.

What are Shin Splints?

Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, this common but painful injury occurs when inflammation is present in tendons and muscles in the lower legs. This results in pains along the shinbones that run down the front of the tibia (lower leg). The symptoms often develop gradually, beginning at the start of the exercise and continue throughout the training session. Pain can intensify throughout the remainder of the day, well into the next morning. Chronic cases may consist of swelling or lumps/bumps alongside the bone. Additionally, inflammation may cause a red appearance amongst the shin.

Taking Steps to Avoid Shin Splints

One of the major causes of shin splints is switching from running on soft to hard surfaces. If running on softer surfaces, like dirt or grass, it is important to progressively transition to a harder surface. Start with short increments and then gradually increase distance so the body has time to adjust to the transition.
It is also essential to wear proper footwear while utilizing proper running techniques. For further assistance with enhancing the fundamentals of running, stop by one of our five valley locations. Our certified, professional trainers will help guide each athlete through the necessities to help achieve success.

Exercises to Prevent Shin Splints

Following these simplistic exercises can help prevent shin splints and strengthen the affected areas:
Toe Curls: Stand on a towel and curl the toes in, thus scrunching the towel. Repeat this on both feet – 10 to 15 reps each foot.
Heel Drops: Stand with the balls of your feet on a step while your heels hang off. Lower your heel and then lift it back up – 10 to 15 reps on each foot.
One-Legged Bridges: Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot up into the air while lifting and lowering your lower back off the ground – 10 to 15 reps each foot.

Treating Shin Splints

Shin splints can be frustrating and painful. It is important to treat before the severity increases. If experiencing extreme pain in the lower legs, a visit to a local doctor is essential. The doctor must eliminate the possibility of any fracture or other serious injury.
The most important aspect for recovery is rest. Low-impact workouts, like cycling and pool work, can help decrease inflammation and rebuild strength. Icing and taking an anti-inflammatory can additionally assist pain relief, as well as expedite the recovery process. Beyond these measures, understanding the injury and instilling the aforementioned tips will assist with the continuation of a healthy athlete.
Shin Splints are an unfortunate reality, but with the utilization of knowledge and care prevention is possible!