Over Did It? Recovering from Shin Splints

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Shin Splints     |    Treatment     |    Recovery     |    Prevention

Sometimes our ambitions get the better part of us and we overexert ourselves. It’s when we overdo it that we can injure ourselves. Most of the time, we just might be a little sore, but every now and then we end up with a slightly more serious injury. From seasoned athletes to weekend warriors, pain and soreness can interrupt or even stop our workouts. Overuse during running or training on hills can lead to shin splints which are injuries to the front of the outer leg, according to medicinet.com, that are classified as overuse injuries.

Over Did It? Recovering from Shin Splints

What Are Shin Splints?

Whenever we exercise or participate in a sport, our legs are prone to injury primarily from the stress of running. It’s this constant pounding that can lead to an injury called shin splints. In an article written by William Shiel Jr. M.D. for medicinenet.com, shin splints are characterized by pain located on the outer edge of the tibia (shin) and are a result of inflammation of the soft-tissues on the front of the outer leg. In any kind of athletic endeavor, it is important to be as pain-free as possible. If our legs hurt we won’t be able to do too much. Aside from overuse, shin splints can be caused by stress fractures or overpronation of your feet. Also, weak stabilization muscles in your core can also contribute to shin splints.

Treating Shin Splints

While these injuries are painful and relatively common, they do usually heal on their own. If the pain persists a visit to your doctor is recommended. If you are a runner, your doctor may ask to see you actually run to determine if there is anything wrong with your gait. As webMD.com points out, an x-ray or bone scan will be able to detect any possible fractures. Obviously the first step in healing is rest. This will give your body the time it needs to heal. The RICE protocol would work perfectly in treating a case of shin splints. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation. The use of the Captain Adjustable Shin Support can be effective in providing compression and alleviating pain. Another option for providing compression is the BIOflex Shin Support. It reduces pain and increases circulation using concentric circle magnets to expedite healing. One way to provide compression and icing is the Sealed Ice Shin Ice Neoprene Sleeve. It provides therapeutic ice and compression therapy while allowing for mobility during use. The Polar Active Ice Cold Therapy System is a convenient way to apply cold therapy to any part of the body, including the shins. The 3M Nextcare Reusable Cold Hot Pack with Covers is a simple way to apply ice to your eating shins. They can be kept in the freezer and are ready to go at a moment’s notice. WebMD.com also points to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories as a good way of treating pain associated with this type of injury. These NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. They do have side effects such as an increased chance of bleeding and ulcers and should be taken at your doctor’s recommendation. After resting, seeing a physical therapist will help treat the injury and possibly identify improper running mechanics that led to the injury in the first place. While rare, surgery could be a possibility to help if there are stress fractures that initially caused the injury.

How Do I Know When I’m Better?

Returning to our athletic endeavors should be done only when we are completely healed. But that raises the question of how do we know when we are completely healed? Your doctor and/or therapist only have the information that you tell them so being forthright and honest should minimize any relapse. To protect your shin while it heals the DermaSaver Orthopedic Shin Tube can help prevent any further injury. There are four signs that your shin splints have healed according to webMD.com. One of the first signs of healing is your injured leg is as flexible as your other leg and feels as strong. Also, being able to run, jump, or walk free of pain is a good sign that your injury has healed. If stress fractures were the cause of your injury, an x-ray will be normal and show that they have healed properly. The healing process will vary from person to person and can take up to six months to properly heal. The key is not to rush back and re-injure yourself or cause permanent injury.

Can Shin Splints Be Prevented?

The best way to avoid the pain of shin splints is to prevent their occurrence. To avoid them there are some commonsense measures that can go a long way to preventing shin splints. Wearing proper footwear with support and padding can eliminate the risk of overpronation. Using an arch support such as the Medi-Dyne Tulis Gaitors Arch Support can provide comfort and support while providing shock absorption. Another option is the FLA Orthopedics Soft Point Flexible Cork Orthotics. They are a cost-effective way to absorb shock and mold to the shape of your foot while stabilizing your foot and preventing the ankles from rolling inward. As always, warming up and stretching before you work out is a great idea. It’s even a good idea to stretch after your workout is complete. Your ankles and hips play a large part in this type of injury prevention. Maintaining or even improving the mobility in these joints can help prevent any injury. Probably the simplest way to avoid shin splints is to stop exercising as soon as you feel pain in your lower legs. While these injuries are considered minor, they can have a huge impact on your life in just making moving around the house painful so avoiding them can be paramount.


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