Should Shin Splints Worry You?
What are shin splints?
Shin splints are a form of tendonitis which stems from tired or inflexible calf muscles putting too much stress on the tendons. They can cause unbearable pain either before or after each workout session and in advanced stages, they can cause pain throughout the entire workout and sometimes even during resting periods.
Symptoms of shin splints
Shin splints symptoms are easy to identify and are caused due to different factors. Below are the major shin splints symptoms that occur most commonly.
- Extreme pain in the shins while walking and running
- Increasing pain while walking and running
- Absence of pain when not walking or running
- Pain on contracting the shin muscles
- Different degrees of pain in the shin muscles ranging from mild aches to shooting and intermittent pain
Causes of shin splints
There are several causes that give rise to shin splints symptoms. The most common causes of shin splints are:
- Intense initial workouts- When beginners train aggressively and workout at high intensities, it can cause shin splints due to the extreme stress on the shin muscles. Workouts that do not increase in intensity gradually are harmful to the muscles as they do not have sufficient time to get accustomed to the increase in intensity
- Poor quality shoes- If your running or cross-training shoes have become worn out and have lost their shock-absorbing abilities, your shin muscles will pay for it. Do not ignore shin pain experienced during running as it could be caused due to your shoe quality. If your shoes do not provide adequate anatomical support, they can damage your shins and cause intense pain.
- Hard surfaces- Running on hard surfaces which are not optimal for running and other shock absorbing activities, can cause and even aggravate shin splints symptoms. Avoid concrete, run on grassy surfaces or on an all-purpose track.
Treatment and management of shin splints
Ice is an effective way to ease the shin pain caused by shin splints. It provides cooling action and reduces swelling and redness in the aching muscles.
Resting when you are afflicted with shin splints should consist of conditioning exercises and only resting of the injured areas. If you completely halt all physical activities, you will only be able to achieve temporary relief from the pain which will relapse as soon as you resume activities.
Instead, you can gradually increase your physical activities and utilize physical therapy to help ease the pain.
Physical therapy which includes stretches and physical exercises can help your shins to recover from the injury and soothe the pain.
Consult a trained physical therapist to help you get back on your feet, pain-free.
The good news for those affected by shin splints is that it is a completely reversible condition and is not a cause for worry. All you need to do is take it slow and get professional help from a skilled physical therapist and you can resume running within no time.