What are shin splints? It is important to understand what shin splints are, especially when you are already unknowingly experiencing its symptoms. Shin splints occur when your shinbone swells up because of too much pressure or stress. Physically active people, like professional runners, have higher risks of having this condition. To learn more about shin splints, read on!
What Are Shin Splints | Frequently Asked Questions
In this article:
- What Are Shin Splints Exactly?
- What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Shin Splints?
- How Do You Treat Shin Splints?
- How Long Do Shin Splints Take to Heal?
- How Do You Prevent Shin Splints?
What Exactly Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints are the swelling of the bone tissue, muscles, and tendons surrounding your tibia, the second largest bone in your lower leg. Usually, you’ll feel pain along the inner border of your tibia, the area where the surrounding muscles are attached. This medical condition occurs because of exercise-related issues, especially with running.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Shin Splints?
There are only very few causes of shin splints, one being overwork from a repetitive activity as the primary reason. Commonly, it happens when there are sudden changes in your physical activity, like the increasing workout days, running longer distances, or running uphill and downhill.
Other non-exercise-related causes include having flat feet. If you are flat-footed, the inside border of your feet do not have a good arch, and you usually stand with your feet turned out. This positioning can cause stress on your lower leg muscles when you are working out. Also, exercising with improper footwear is another one. It provides discomfort and can increase stress on your leg muscles.
In terms of symptoms, you will experience pain along the border of your tibia and mild swelling may also develop in this area. You may feel sharp or razor-like pain. The ache also occurs during and after your workout. You’ll notice that the pain increases when you touch the affected area.
How Do You Treat Shin Splints?
Part of understanding what shin splints are is knowing the condition’s treatment, both surgical or non-surgical options. For non-surgical treatments, you can do the following:
Because overuse usually causes shin splints, rest plays an important role in recovering from this condition. You may be advised to rest for a few weeks before you can return to your regular physical activities.
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Shin splints are basically inflamed shins, so you can take anti-inflammatory drugs. Medications like naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Compression and Cold Compress
To lessen the swelling, wrapping your lower leg with an elastic compression bandage can help. You can also use ice to reduce the inflammation. Do this several times a day for 20 minutes each application, and do not place it directly on your skin.
For surgical treatments, there are only a few options. This is only done when symptoms won’t respond to non-surgical treatments anymore. Consult your doctor if you don’t feel any progress with the symptoms after trying non-surgical methods.
How Long Do Shin Splints Take To Heal?
Shin splints can take 3 to 6 months to heal. After resting for 2 to 4 weeks and there is no more pain, you can return to your workout. But, you need to do it slowly and increase the workout intensity gradually, too. If the pain returns, stop your workout immediately.
How Do You Prevent Shin Splints?
There are also a few ways you can prevent the symptoms of shin splints. Here are as follows:
- Supportive Shoes and Orthotics
Wearing shoes with good cushioning during your workout can help lessen stress in your shin. If you have flat feet, you can utilize orthotics. These shoe inserts can aid in stabilizing your ankles and feet, which helps prevent stress on your lower leg.
- Cross Train
Cross training can help lower the risk of developing shin splints. You can alternate running or jogging with low impact sports such as cycling or swimming. This does not cause too much strain on your lower leg.
- Barefoot Running
Some studies indicate that barefoot running can help resolve shin splints. This activity allows the impact stress to spread throughout your leg muscles so there is no overloaded area. Still, this does not mean you are entirely safe from injuries. You may begin with short distances first to give your muscles enough time to adjust and then gradually increase the distance.
For more information on shin splints, watch this video from lakestv3:
With the information above, you now have a better understanding of what shin splints are. Although it is rare to opt for surgical treatment, this condition still needs your full attention for complete recovery. Once you notice the symptoms, apply the necessary treatments to avoid making it worse. As they say, prevention is always better than cure, so follow the preventive ways first and enjoy your physical activities with no worries!
Have you experienced symptoms of shin splints? If so, what treatments did you apply to relieve pain and swelling? Share your experiences in the comments section!
Up Next: Tachycardia Causes