What Are Shin Splints?
Have you been training hard and are now experiencing pain in the middle-bottom of your inner shin(s)?
You may be suffering from medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS)—known to most runners and other athletes as shin splints.
Causes of Shin Splints
Shin splints occur when your shins are experiencing too much stress. This could be due to pushing yourself too hard during physical activity and running repeatedly on uphill or hard surfaces like concrete. It can also be exacerbated by overpronation (flat feet); unsupportive or misfitted shoes; weak abdominal, hip, or ankle muscles; and exercising without stretching.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Shin splint symptoms are limited to experiencing shin pain during or after workouts either in the muscle or bone. Depending on where the pain is coming from, the options for how to treat shin splints can vary slightly. Some common symptoms of shin splints include:
- Aches or pain around the front of your legs
- Pain when touching your shins
- Increased pain in your shins following exercise
- Pain that starts on the inside of the leg right above the ankle
How To Treat Shin Splints
The process of how to treat your shin splints can sometimes be as simple as resting, icing, and taking a low-dosage of pain medication. This is because if the reason your shin muscles become inflamed was due to a classic case of overexertion, taking a break should give your body time to recuperate and hit the ground running (the right way!) soon afterward. In most cases, shin splints take approximately 7 to 9 weeks to completely heal.
If you believe the pain may be coming from the bone, visit your doctor to be sure it has not developed into a micro- or stress fracture. They will most likely give you a longer rest period to be sure you’re 100% ready when you begin exercising again.
Acupuncture is Chinese-originated medical practice: the skin and muscle tissue are stuck with needles to alleviate pain and tension. This deep-level tissue manipulation should have you feel immediate, lasting pain relief. In fact, a shin splints study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine found that the athletes who were treated with acupuncture experienced the most pain relief of all groups.
Book an appointment with an acupuncturist to undergo the shin splint recovery process.
Physical Therapy For Shin Splints
Get a licensed physical therapist to not just treat your shin, but strengthen it so that it is less likely to occur again. A therapist can suggest the above treatment options in addition to stretching and strengthening the surrounding muscles, taping the shin muscles or foot arch, and massaging the skin. A physical therapist can even recommend you better running techniques and footwear.
No matter what the cause of your shin splints is, physical therapy can help. If you’re ready to stop letting your shin splints symptoms dictate your life, contact OSR PT today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced and caring physical therapists to relieve your condition and live actively again!