What’s the low down on shin splints?

Distance runners are particularly prone to shin splints

We’ve all heard the phrase shin splint but do many of us know what it refers to? It’s not a case of having your leg taped up. Rather, it’s the name for any type of pain that center’s around the shin bones in our legs. This could either be a shooting pain or even a dull ache which is sore to the touch.

The good news is a shin splint injury isn’t serious – at least not if you get it seen to rather than just ignoring it. It would become serious if it developed into a stress fracture which is why, if the shin splint doesn’t go away after trying out some treatment options of your own, it’s always best to see a physician.

Here at Overland Park Boot Camp we’re aware that sprint runners, long distance joggers, dancers and gymnasts are the type of athletes who are most likely to suffer from shin splint difficulties. This is because they most often happen to individuals who do a lot of jumping or running.

Other causes of shin splints

  • Not getting enough rest between work outs
  • Poor quality – or old – running shoes. Your shoes support your ankle and absorb shock. If they’re not capable of this you really are asking for trouble
  • Jogging on roads and other hard surfaces. Grass or a running track are far better to run on
  • Individuals who suffer from certain conditions such as fallen arches or knock knees can be more prone to shin splints (but orthotics can help these conditions out)

How to treat a shin splint

Rest up. There are no points for being a martyr and trying to run through the pain. All that will mean is you’ll have to take more time out when it gets really sore.

Ice it. This is where packets of frozen peas really come into their own. Massage the area of pain for ten minutes at a time, four or five times a day by rubbing it with the frozen peas

Dope it. Pain-relieving meds can often dull the ache while anti-inflammatory meds can reduce swelling. A lot of mountain climbers take pain relieving meds prior to walking down a mountain as it’s so stressful on the shins

Fool it. If the one type of exercise is causing the pain (ie running) then switch to another type such as swimming or cycling while your shin splint injury heals

Prevent it. The best form of defense is attack so prevent a shin splint from occurring in the first place by remembering to stretch before exercising in order to relax your muscles and to get the blood flowing round the tissues in your body.

Now get out there and enjoy your exercise without any fear of shin splints folks. Better still, why not come and join us at Overland Park Boot Camp?


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