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Pain in your lower leg? It could be Shin Splints.

I have been asked a common question today. Common but good. "How to get rid of shin splints"? If you've ever struggled with the problem, you know how frustrating it is, so here I come with help.


What are shin splints?

"Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome", according to Mayo Clinic, the term refers to "pain along the shin bone (tibia) — the large bone in the front of your lower leg."


shins, shin splints

What is the cause, and who is at risk?

"Shin splints are caused by repetitive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone." That means the activity overworks the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue, causing pain.

runner, girl
Shin Splints are a common overuse injury in runners.

You may be at risk if you:

  • are a runner, especially a beginner,

  • are a dancer or martial artist,

  • suddenly intensified or changed your training routine (increased the duration, frequency, and/or intensity of your training),

  • run on uneven terrains, such as hills, or hard surfaces, such as concrete.


 

How to alleviate the pain?

In most cases, the best approach is:

  • rest,

  • ice,

  • other self-care measures (e.g. foam rolling & stretching) mobility & strength training.

kinesio tape
Picture taken at a Kinesio taping course.

In my practice, I have seen great results with clients who:

  • decreased the mileage,

  • applied ice packs regularly,

  • used the Kinesio taping method to support musculoskeletal structures and relieve stress.


How to prevent shin splints?

  • Analyse your walking/running pattern, e.g. using video analysis.

  • Avoid overtraining.

  • Run in proper running shoes. Replace them every 500-800km, or when you feel/see they have been damaged and no longer seem usable.

  • Cross-train. Include different types of workouts in your training program to lessen the impact on your shins. Consider swimming, cycling, or perhaps walking.

  • Add strength training, stretching, and myofascial release (foam rolling) to your training routine. Strengthening and stabilizing your legs, ankles, hips, and core can help to prepare your legs for the stress of high-impact activities, such as running.


⚠️ Usually, the pain stops when you stop exercising which, can be misleading.

⚠️ The condition can also progress to a stress fracture if not taken care of.

⚠️ If you have tried the above-mentioned methods, and the pain is not going away, consult your doctor or physiotherapist.



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