Shin splits are a common side effect of exercise and sports. It is a common condition among runners and people just beginning a new workout regimen. Shin splits are easily treated with prompt rest, ice, stretching and moderating exercise levels.
Shin splits occur because of inflammation of the muscles and tendons surrounding the tibia. The pain is felt the most on the inside edge of the shinbone where the muscles attach to the tibia. When the muscle and bone tissue near the tibia are overworked its easy for shin splits to develop. Repetitive activity is commonly the cause. Sudden changes in physical activity levels can trigger ship splints as well. Any changes in intensity, frequency, and duration can bring about shin splits. If you have flat feet or rigid arches, you’re more likely to develop shin splits. Wearing improper or old shoes can cause the condition as well. Runners are particularly vulnerable and develop shin splits frequently.
The most commonly reported symptom of shin splints is a pain running along the border of the tibia, along with swelling. The pain may feel dull, or in some cases very sharp. Touching the affected area can make pain worse. Shin splint pain can occur during and after exercise.
Nonsurgical Treatment, The most effective nonsurgical treatment for shin splints, is rest. Shin splits are caused by overuse so taking a break from the activity will allow your muscles to return to normal. Lower impact activities can be helpful in place of high impact activity. Applying ice packs 20 minutes a day and using a compression bandage can help reduce swelling and pain. Stretching the affected muscles will cause some relief as well. Before returning to exercise you should feel pain-free for at least two weeks. As you gradually fall back into your routine add an extended warm up and stretching before each exercise. Increase your intensity slowly and if you feel the shin splints beginning again stop exercising.
Surgical Treatment Surgery to correct shin splints is rare. Surgery is only necessary under severe circumstances, and it is still unclear how effective surgical treatment is.
How To Prevent Shin Splints
There are several things you can do to stop shin splints from happening again.
- Wear shoes that are designed for your activity and feet
- Don’t overwork yourself—gradually build up your fitness level.
- Add cross training to your routine.