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  • Writer's pictureHayden Therapies

Shin Splints- All You Need To Know

A guide to causes and treatment

So here we are, well into the throws of alleged British Summertime, with all the outdoor hobbyists clawing to rack up some miles before the inevitable weather break.
Which also means its shin splint season for me. Well, not me personally, but definitely for some clients.

So what are they and what causes them?
Shin splints are commonly an overuse injury involving the connective tissues and muscles of the lower leg, generally towards the front lower section of your shin. This inflammatory condition causes pain that ranges from a dull ache to a sharp burn, and often persists or worsens after exercise.

'Flat foot' or low arches
People who haven't ever tired running before and increase their mileage too quickly will often complain of a burning pain down the front of their shin. But it's not just newbies to the sport of running that suffer. Those in the military that spend long hours on their feet are also more likely to suffer from shin splints. As are women, dancers, and those with a vitamin D deficiency. Other contributory factors are:

Poor foot arches (either flat or rigid)
Unsuitable footwear during sports
Eating disorders
Being overweight

So how do we treat them?
Rest. In my experience, rest is the single most important factor in recovery from shin splints. Rest allows the connective tissue to heal
Ice. In the early stages, applying ice packs appropriately can really help reduce all that pain and inflammation
Pain relief (NSAIDS) Not to be underestimated, sometime we just need a little help getting that inflammation down
Physical therapy. Surprise surprise. Hands on treatment of the surrounding structures is known to cut healing time. Some people find KTape is real winner here too.
Supportive shoes or inserts (orthotics), and trust me, this could be a WHOLE other topic for discussion.

What happens if we don't treat them?
They continue to hurt. Shin splints aren't something you can just 'run through'. In some cases, this condition can progress and cause stress fractures which can really mess up a whole training season, not to mention the normal life jobs like shopping or walking the dog.

With appropriate care, shin splints can heal up within 3-4wks, but it's not unusual for more severs cases to last up to 3mnths.

How do we prevent them?
Build up new exercise slowly, especially if it involves running, jumping, or dancing
Invest in appropriate supportive footwear, I REALLY feel you can't go wrong here.
Consider cross training to improve overall fitness
Allow rest days for your body to recover

If you think you may be suffering from shin splints, don't hesitate to get in touch to see how I can help!



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