What are shin splints?
A very common injury amongst runners, and accounts for 13% of all running related ailments.
Pain occurs when muscles that attach to the shin are tight, and pull away at the surface of the bone leading to inflammation and pain. Sufferers tend to report a dull, aching pain in the front of their lower leg. Some feel pain during running, others after activity and for some, it is constant. The severity ranges from mild to very painful, and is usually very tender to touch.
Why would I suffer with this?
There are a number of reasons why this injury may occur, and these include:-
# Over pronation/over supination at the ankle or foot
# Inadequate or poorly supported trainers
# Excessive running on a camber or hill training
# Increasing training too quickly
# Poor flexibility in Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Tibialis Posterior or Flexor Hallucis Longus muscles
What you can do to help yourself
To reduce inflammation, ice compresses can be useful at 15 minute intervals, repeating 3-4 times a day. It is vital you stop all high impact activity to stop the potential of stress fractures occuring as this will be a definite deferred entry until the following year. Try and incorporate cycling and swimming into your training, this will help keep your fitness up. Gentle stretches and massage can help ease muscle tension and Kinesio taping can be very supportive.
Once the pain subsides, it is vital the reason why you suffered with shin splints is identifed and addressed, and your therapist can help you with this. Under advice from your therapist, you can start to incorporate running back into your plan.
# Maintain a good level of flexibility
# Slow/progressive training routine
# Correct footwear
# Efficient hip/knee/ankle function
# Cross training