SHIN SPLINTS  - Watsons Health

SHIN SPLINTS 

Shin splints are very common to dancers and athletes especially to runners. Runners might get shin splints after an intense workout or by sprinting. Changing the surface that they run on such as asphalt to dirt path may contribute to develop the injury.

Shin splints can be caused by:

  • Irritated and swollen muscles, often from overuse
  • Poor lumbar spine function
  • Overpronation or ”flat feet” — when the impact of a step makes your foot’s arch collapse
  • Stress fractures, which are tiny breaks in the lower leg bones
  • Weakness in stabilizing muscles of the hips or core

Shin splints often heal on itself. However, if your shin splints are more serious you might consider seeing a doctor. In that case, you might go under a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may want to see you run to look for problems. Your doctor may also suggest an x-ray or bone scan to look for fractures.

Most shin splints are not serious and it heals on its own. To speed the healing, you may do the following:

  • Rest your body.
  • Use ice to your shin to ease pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or Aspirin. This will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs must be used only when prescribed by your doctor. It is because these drugs can have side effects that may harm the body in the long run like a greater chance of bleeding and ulcers.
  • Use orthotics for your shoes. Shoe inserts which can be custom-made or bought off the shelf may help with arches that collapse or flatten when you stand up.
  • Do range-of-motion exercises, it can be recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.
  • Use a neoprene sleeve to support and warm your leg.
  • Use shoe inserts or orthotics to help with arches that collapse or flatten when you stand up.
  • Undergo physical therapy to identify and treat issues in your back or legs or running mechanics that may be causing your shin splints. Aside from helping you ease the pain of shin splints, therapist can guide properly to return to sport.

Severe stress fracture and other rare cases might need the call for surgery treatment.

There is no definite time when your shin splint would heal but people usually heal from 3 to 6 months. It depends on what’s causing them. Do not rush back to return into sport for you may hurt yourself permanently.

To prevent shin splints, you must:

  • Wear shoes with good support and padding that fit your foot type.
  • Stretch the muscles in your legs, especially after workouts.
  • Warm up before working out.
  • Stretch the muscles in your legs, especially after workouts.
  • Improve strength in the stabilizing muscles of your core, hips, and ankles.
  • Stop working out as soon as you feel pain in your shins.
  • Maintain proper mobility in your ankles and hips.

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