Shin splints are a runner’s worst nightmare. They can cause enough pain to keep you off your feet for a good amount of time. They can also signify an underlying problem that needs to be fixed so that recurrence does not happen.
Why Are My Shins Sore?
Shin splints is a term that refers to inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the lower leg. This condition can occur in pretty much anyone, especially those engaging in physical activity. Whether you are running after your kids, training for a race, or just plain love the activity, you could wind up suffering from this problem if you’re not careful. Usually it is a result of an increase in running intensity after the muscles become overworked. However, people with flatfeet or collapsed arches may also develop shin splints. If you notice that you have soreness or pain in your front, lower leg, specifically along the inside, you might have inflammation. There may also be a bit of swelling, but not always. At first you may find that there is only pain when you are engaging in physical activity, but as the problem worsens, there will be continuous pain.
How to Prevent the Pain
It takes a little extra care to prevent shin splints, but it can be done. The main thing to focus on is proper stretching before and after running. You can do calf raises so that your lower legs become stronger. You may also wish to do leg presses with increasingly heavier weights. In addition, it’s important to wear the right footwear when running. This is especially true if you have a biomechanical issue such as flat feet. Make sure your arches are supported and your heels are cushioned. You can also consider cross training with a lower-impact sport such as swimming or cycling. This can also be an option during the healing process if you are already suffering from this condition. If you feel oncoming pain in the area of your shins, you should discontinue your physical activity immediately. Fixing your condition will take a bit of time, but it will take more time if the injury is allowed to progress.
Treatment to Get You Back on Your Feet
The first thing to do when treating already existing shin splints is to rest your feet and legs. Sorry you avid runners out there, but this means stopping the activity you were doing and switching to something with less impact. Applying ice to your shins a few times a day for 20 minute intervals will help reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory medication can help with inflammation and swelling as well. You may also consider using arch supports, particularly if your arches are collapsed. In some cases, a regimen of physical therapy with range-of-motion exercises may be recommended. Continue with this process until both of your legs feel as strong as they did before the problem, and you can run or jump without any pain. Do not rush the healing process as further injury can keep you out of your sport for even longer.
If you have more questions about shin splints or other common injuries and how you can heal them, call Dr. Victoria Melhuish at 888-608-8406 to schedule an appointment at Sierra Foot & Ankle in Carson City or Gardnerville, NV today. We’ll get you running again in no time!