Recognizing and Treating Shin Splints
If you are a runner, soccer player, dancer, or tennis player, chances are you have dealt with the dreaded shin splints at some point in your life. This condition often appears when your legs are overworked or overstressed. When you sharply increase the amount of exercise you do or if you change your exercise regimen, the soft tissue in your legs can quickly become irritated and inflamed, causing you pain along the tibia or shin bone.
Identifying Shin Splints
The most distinctive characteristic of shin splints is a nagging pain on the outside or inside part of the tibia that worsens with exercise. Along with pain and soreness, many people also find that their shins are tender and slightly swollen after physical activity. This can make playing sports, exercising, and even walking difficult and painful. In some cases, the pain will cease after a period of rest and will only return with exercise. But for more severe cases, the symptoms of shin splints can last for a few days or weeks.
Treating Shin Splints
Most of the time, there isn’t a trick to treating shin splints. Though many don’t like to hear it, the best way to recover from shin splints is to ice your legs and stop exercises that cause you pain. There’s no magic cure other than to be patient, careful, and manage your pain. However, you might be attributing your shin pain to shin splints when you really have a more significant injury, like a stress fracture in your tibia. If your pain is particularly persistent or severe, you should go to a doctor for diagnostic imaging tests to determine whether you have a stress fracture and need further treatment.
How to Avoid Shin Splints
When you get shin splints, they can be incredibly frustrating to get rid of. So it is prudent to do your best to avoid shin splints by preparing your body to handle strenuous physical activity. Here are some steps you can take so that you aren’t slowed down by this nagging condition.
- Change your running form to reduce the impact on certain muscles and tendons.
- Change your running shoes often for maximum support.
- Be patient with your body and don’t overtax yourself.
- Invest in running insoles or arch supports.
- Avoid running on uneven or hard surfaces.
- Take up a non-impact exercise like swimming, weight training, or biking.
If shin splints or another leg or foot injury has you sidelined, come visit the specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. Our team can figure out what is causing you pain and how to get you back on your feet again doing what you love most. To schedule a visit at our offices, request an appointment online or call us at 904-825-0540.