Monday, October 14, 2013

Shin Splints

I get lots of questions on Shin Splints and see a lot of questions on shin splints posted on my fitness groups, so I thought I would cover them today.

Shin splints happen when constant pounding and stress are placed on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower leg. The result is irritation and inflammation, both of which cause pain. Factors that contribute to shin splints may include:

Old shoes – I find this the #1 reason I get shin splints. As your running shoes wear down, they don’t properly absorb shock and the arch support tends to flatten out and aggravates the inflamed tissues of the lower leg.  Go buy new shoes if yours are older than 6 months and you run on a regular basis.

Running downhill or on hard inclined surfaces – When you run downhill on on inclined, you put  stress on the muscles on the front of your shin, causing shin splints.

Sudden increase in training frequency, duration, or intensity  –  Anytime you increase your work out routine by  10 percent or more there is a risk of injury, including shin splints.

Previous history of shin splints  – This is me as well, if you  have had shin splints in the past are more likely to have a recurring problem with them. Especially if you do not rehab them properly before returning to your normal work out program. Also, make sure your warm them up before a hard work out.

Symptoms are:
Lower leg pain
Pain when foot or toes are bent downward
Mild swelling
Tenderness (along front or inner part of the lower leg)
Pain that (at first) subsides when not exercising; if not treated then continuous pain

Treatment options:
Rest (avoid activities that cause pain; cross-train with low impact activities such as pool training, bicycling or elliptical machine training)
Ice (15-20 minutes at a time, four or more times a day)
Compression (with an elastic wrap or compression sleeve)
Elevation (prop your feet and legs up when resting and at night)
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)
Arch supports (to cushion the impact and disperse the stress)
Icy Hot or something similar
Buy new shows if needed
Seek medical help if pain persists for a week or more

Pay attention to your body and rest when needed.   Good luck!

Have a very fit day

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