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What Are Shin Splints?
Before understanding how to treat shin splints or how to prevent the need for treatment, it is necessary to understand a little bit about how and why shin splints occur. This knowledge can help you to prevent an injury in the future. It can also help you to understand a little bit of the recovery process.
The lower leg contains two basic bones; the fibula and the tibia. The tibia is the bone associated with shin splints. This bone has several muscles that are connected to it. Muscles are connected to bone by tendons. These tendons are the place in which shin splints actually occur.
Reasons Why Shin Splints Occur
There are several reasons that a shin splint can occur. However, the impact force while running plays the biggest role in shin splint injuries. The sudden shock force of repeated landings and change of direction causes the muscles to become fatigued. This prevents the muscles from effectively absorbing the shock of the impact associated with running.
Common reasons for this muscle fatigue include: running on hard surfaces, tight or stiff muscles in the lower leg, excessive backward or forward lean while running, running with the toes pointed outwards, landing on the balls of the feet, starting running after an extended amount of time off, and poor running mechanics.
Poor running mechanics are generally caused by what is called overpronation or underpronation. Pronation is the movement of the foot once the heel strikes the ground. In regular pronation, the heel strikes the ground and the foot rolls inward slightly. However, in overpronation or underpronation, the foot rolls inward too much or not enough. Both problems can be corrected in order to prevent shin splints from occurring.
Pronation problems can easily be corrected by visiting a podiatrist for a gait evaluation. They can help you to assess the proper shoe or shoe hardware for your feet while running.
Other running issues can be corrected with adequate practice, stretching, and strengthening. These are all shin splints treatments that fall under the category of prevention.
Shin Splints Treatment For Recovery
If you are currently suffering from shin splints, then you need to know how to treat them for faster recovery.
If severe, shin splints treatment needs to be handled by a physician. They can help you to evaluate whether or not it is safe for you to continue to run. If you are experiencing only moderate pain, continuing exercise in lesser amounts can help to strengthen the muscle. This will help speed up the recovery process.
Another useful shin splints treatment includes taking an anti-inflammatory medication as directed.
You can also use a heat compress an hour before exercising. After exercise, an effective shin splints treatment is to use a cold compress to reduce the swelling.