Shin splint causes and remedies

Get back to your game or workout in no time with these beneficial home-remedies for shin splints

Shin splints are a very common problem for runners, gymnasts and people who regularly participate in contact sports with constant stops and starts; such as football, netball, basketball to name a few. You’ll know if you experience the condition when you’re deep into your game, workout or walk and a sharp stabbing pain instantly hits the front of your lower legs.

In medical terms, shin splints are referred to as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS) and usually occur when people overdo exercise. The condition develops when the muscles attached to your two leg bones (tibia and fibula) become inflamed which catalyses the intense and unbearable pain. But if you can understand shin splints and how to prevent and treat them, they will no longer take over your life.

Shin Splint Causes

Muscle and Tendon Overload – If a person performs excessive running and weight bearing activities, the sudden shock force of repeated landings will take its toll on your lower legs. Exercising on hard surfaces, uneven ground, excessive uphill or downhill running, wearing the wrong shoes and increasing exercise intensity too quickly are also contributing factors.

Biomechanical Form – Flat feet and over-pronation occurs when the foot and ankle continuously roll excessively inward. This added pressure causes the tibia to twist and therefore over stretches the lower leg muscles. So poor running techniques including excessive forward and backwards lean, running with outward toes and landing on the balls of your feet all take their toll on your lower leg causing shin splints.

Prevention and Remedies

Your best bet for preventing shin splints is to choose high-quality footwear that suits your foot type; whether you roll-in, roll-out or have flat feet. It’s also important to update your shoes and refrain from using old, worn-out pairs that offer no protection and support. Athletic shoe insoles will also help.

Don’t forget warming and stretching your lower legs and feet is an essential before you commence physical activity. It’s also worthwhile to do specific Achilles tendon strengthening exercises to condition the muscles of the lower leg. If at any time you experience sharp pains when exercising, consult a podiatrist to learn more about your foot structure.

If shin splints are a recurring problem, then its best to stop exercising and rest to allow the injury to heal. Apply an ice pack when the pain becomes too intense in a bid to reduce pain and inflammation. It’s also wise to wear shock absorbing insoles in your shoes to reduce the amount of shock on your lower leg and prevent further injury.

Sometimes a podiatrist will tape your shin to alleviate added pressure on attached muscles. But if things aren’t too bad, you can maintain fitness by doing non-weight bearing excises such as swimming or cycling.

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