Have you ever experienced shin splints? It’s a condition caused by inflammation and pain on the inside of the tibia and is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome. This syndrome affects muscles, tendons, and bone tissue and is sometimes referred to as an overuse injury. The shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone are stress points that result in shin splints.
Symptoms of shin splints include tenderness, soreness, pain and some mild swelling. Rest will initially alleviate these symptoms, but they can also eventually become continuous if the bone is not allowed to heal. Therefore, if the problem is not addressed, it could worsen over time.
If left untreated, shin splints could lead to a stress fracture of the tibia. Icing, rest, and over-the-counter pain medication are some of the treatment options.
Individuals who are at a greater risk of developing shin splints include:
- People with flat feet, high arches, or rigid arches. This is due to an inability to absorb shock or distribute force.
- People with osteoporosis or osteopenia because they already have weak bones.
- People that make a sudden change in duration, frequency, or intensity of their exercise routine.
- Military personnel. This is due to an increase in marching and/or walking.
- Runners, especially those running on uneven surfaces or hard surfaces like concrete.
- Anyone with underlying vitamin D deficiency, eating disorder or loss of menstruation.
How to avoid shin splints?
- Choose shoes with proper support. Running shoes should be replaced every 350 to 500 miles.
- Modify your exercise routine gradually.
- Wear arch supports. If you have flat arches, arch supports can help prevent shin splints.
- See a physiotherapist. By analyzing your running technique, you can identify movements that can lead to shin splints and make necessary adjustments.
- Increase your strength training. Take part in exercises that help strengthen and stabilize your legs, ankles, hips, and core.
- Wear shock-absorbing insoles. By absorbing the shock, the shinbone isn’t subjected to all that repeated pounding when running.
- Engage in low-impact exercise and sports. Get in shape by participating in a sport that is less impactful on your shins, such as swimming, walking or biking.
- Don’t overdo it. If the shins are subjected to too much running or high-impact activities for too long at too high an intensity, they can become overloaded.
Wanting to get fit and stay healthy are awesome goals. Hopefully this has helped you see how you can crush your fitness goals while keeping your legs pain free.