Shin splints can be annoying and painful. They often start out as a dull ache or muscle soreness at the front of your lower leg. Without proper prevention and care, they can quickly develop into full blown shin splints.
Depending on the severity of the injury, they can set you back from your workout and fitness goals for quite some time. Luckily, with the proper care and activities to support recovery, you can be back to normal again in just 3 to 4 weeks.
Below, we talk about some of the best ways to manage and treat symptoms of shin splints, causes of shin splints, as well as preventative measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of recurring shin injuries. Get started on the road to recovery by reading ahead.
What are the causes of shin splints
Shin splints are a very common sports injury that should be tended to as soon as possible. If you begin to feel symptoms (i.e. dull aches or soreness in the lower leg that doesn’t go away), think about whether you have experienced any of the below causes of shin splints. If the pain and activity have a correlation, you probably have shin splints and should consult professional advice:
- Doing extreme and intense sports that your body is not prepared to do
- Overusing the lower leg muscles in a repetitive exercise sequence or sports
- Repeated high impact or injury to part or whole of the lower leg
- Wearing shoes that no longer provide adequate support
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes that do not meet your personal needs (e.g. no large toe box to accommodate bunions)
- Doing high-impact exercise on hard surfaces like concrete for extended periods of time
How to manage and reduce symptoms of shin splints
Here are some steps you can take to start alleviating shin pain and help reduce the severity of the problem:
- Single out the affected area & treat as needed:
You want mark exactly where the pain or discomfort is in your lower leg(s) so you can more effectively treat the shin splints
- Learn how to tape feet with KT tape:
Learning how to tape feet for shin splints with Kinesiology Therapeutic tape (KT) is invaluable. When done correctly, KT tape can better support the recovery of your shins. KT tape provides compression that stimulates blood circulation, as well as firm but flexible support so you can recover in comfort.
- Wear supportive exercise apparel and accessories:
If you’re a runner avoiding shin splints, a well-fitting pair of women’s or men’s running shoes can help you run in better comfort and style, all while reducing the impact and shock on your feet. Whereas if you’re a dancer who regularly gets shin splints, wearing supportive insoles that provide good arch support when you’re not on stage can give your feet time to rest and recover. Different supportive apparel will work for different sports.
- Perform targeted and specific stretching techniques:
There are a number of targeted stretches for shin splints that can greatly help reduce any pain and chances of recurring issues. It is best to do some research beforehand and carefully choose the stretches that work for you. KT tape is inexpensive, easy to find, and simple to use.
- Develop a support plan with physio/ exercise health professional
Consult a physiotherapist or other sports health professional for personalised advice and a recovery plan to help you get back into peak condition.
- Rest up:
- You can’t go wrong with a bit (a lot) of rest when you have a sports injury. Use ice packs at least 3 times a day to reduce any swelling and pain. Leave the ice pack on for 10-20 min for it to work properly. If you want to continue exercising with shin
splints, make sure to use KT tape and choose low-intensity, low-impact activities.
- Take anti-inflammatory painkillers:
If you need to manage the shin splints’ pain in a pinch, take some anti-inflammatory painkillers with water. If you can, get yourself to a health centre as soon as possible so you can get the care and advice you need.
How to prevent shin splints in sports
- Reduce the intensity of your exercise and work out on low-impact surfaces
- Wear new, supportive shoes (old ones can be worn out)
- Use insoles or orthotics if needed
- Stretch to boost blood circulation and improve overall flexibility
- Perform a series of yoga poses to warm up
- Improve your exercise form and technique (you can consult a podiatrist for advice on the best workout or running shoes and insoles that support your feet during exercise.)
- Cross-train by doing low-impact sports on alternate days (i.e. swimming and cycling or stationary bike).
Tips for a faster shin splints recovery
As you can see above, there are many steps you can take to prevent and support the recovery of shin splints. With the right regimen and simple changes to the way you work out, you will see improvements to your exercise performance and effectiveness in no time. Not to mention, some high quality workout equipment tailored to your needs, like Saucony women’s running shoes or Goodr sunglasses, can help you workout in increased comfort, support, and style. So take action today, and keep shin splints at bay.