Four Ways to Beat Shin Splints

Shin splints – they’re kind of a “catch-all” term for pain and problems affecting your shin. They’re often experienced by runners and those who participate in repetitive or impact sports (gymnastics, dancers), and they can be painful and limiting. Here are the symptoms of shin splints as well as four basic ways to deal with them:

Shin splints are: a stress reaction with connective tissue, your shin bone, and muscle. It’s often an overuse injury, (from doing too much, too soon). Sometimes, shin splints are the “canary in the coal mine” that precede a more serious overuse injury like a stress fracture in the shin bone. 

Some Common Symptoms of Shin Splints:

Pain on the lower leg, on both sides of the shin, or often on the interior

Pain that worsens with activity

Aching/throbbing pain

Muscle pain

4 Ways to Treat Shin Splints:

  • Rest! If you’ve overdone it and shin pain is the result, it’s time to back your activity intensity and frequency down. Take some time off and allow your legs to rest. You can maintain some gentle activity with slow walking or yoga; however, anything that causes additional pain should be avoided.
  • Ice. You can ice your shins several times a day for 10-20 minutes or so each time, which can help with inflammation.
  • Stretch Your Calves! Seriously, if you knew how important stretching your calves was, you’d never leave home without doing it again. Tight calves are the beginning of the end! Well, not really; however, they can contribute to a whole bunch of misery including shin pain, plantar fasciitis, lower leg pain, and more. Here’s an easy standing stretch you can do while you’re at work, or while you’re watching your favorite shows at night. 
  • See a Physical Therapist. Sure, we have a dog in this fight but it’s for a really good reason. How many people do you see asking their runner’s group on Facebook what they should do, or posting questions in the comments of Instagram to figure out why they keep getting shin splints (or whatever injury)? A LOT. The reason having your own physical therapist is so important is because when an injury or problem arises, you’ll have your issue addressed by an expert in the field. You’ll learn not just how to improve your immediate problem, but what probably caused it in the first place. Sure, you may get lucky on that Facebook group, but really, what are the odds that you’ll find the best answer there? A PT is typically a doctor in one of several disciplines, and an expert in the musculoskeletal system.

If you’re struggling with shin pain or other pain or movement problems, Body One has you covered. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t want to spend time at the doctor’s first? You don’t have to! Thanks to Direct Access, you have 42 days to see a PT before needing a referral; after that our office will work with your doctor and insurance company if a referral is necessary for more visits. Don’t sit this spring out, call Body One today and let our physical therapy team get you feeling great!

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