Shin Splints is the common name for generalized lower leg muscle pain that occurs below the knee, usually along the bottom 1/3 of the tibia. They can be either on the inside or outside of the leg. Though they’re most often associated with running, the pain and annoyance of Shin Splints can affect basketball players, tennis players, dancers, even soldiers. In fact, anyone who changes their routine too quickly, adds too much, or doesn’t warm up properly can develop them.
Shin splints causes
The muscles on the front portion of our lower legs tend to be weak. And repetitive stress from running constantly aggravates them. If you’ve begun increasing your mileage, gone from a flat route to a hilly one, aren’t stretching enough, or are wearing shoes that don’t provide enough support, you can end up in pain.
Weaker muscles on the front legs, combined with the chronically tight calves so many runners have, creates an imbalance. This imbalance causes extra strain where the anterior shin muscles attach to the shin bone. The strain on the muscles is too much and they become inflamed. That inflammation is what we call Shin Splints.
How to prevent getting shin splints
- Keep your running shoes in good condition. Your foot mechanics may predispose you to Shin Splints, so be fitted by a professional and replace your shoes every 300 – 400 miles.
- Try not to run every day on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Running on the grass reduces the impact and force transferred through your legs. This is particularly important early in your training.
- If you notice pain in your shins while you run, massage the area with ice for five to 10 minutes after every run. This will help calm the inflammation.
- Stretch often and stretch properly, particularly your calf muscles. Maintaining flexibility and staying loose there will help you avoid Shin Splints. The runner’s calf stretch at the wall is a great one you can do anywhere, anytime.
Seeking treatment from a physical therapist
Are you looking to get treatment for your shin splints? By seeking out a physical therapist to help treat your shin splints you’ll get a customized plan that helps you ease pain, strengthen your muscles and get you to a point where shin splints aren’t causing you pain anymore. To schedule your free consultation, call today.