Shin Splints – An Athlete’s Curse

shin pain

The pain that you feel along the front of the lower leg or shin bone is described as shin splints. It occurs in athletes who play sports like tennis, basketball, football, runners or even dancers. Wherever there is stop-start activity this is bound to occur. This also occurs in people who change their work-out style suddenly. If you increase the speed of your running suddenly or if you start running up the hill suddenly, this can happen.

The pain is sometimes so severe that you will be forced to stop whatever activity you have been doing. This comes from continuous pressure on the bones, muscles, and joints of the lower legs without giving it a chance to recover.

Causes Of Shin Splints

It is the result of excessive force on the shin bone or the tissues that attach the bone to the muscles around it. The constant force causes the muscles to swell. This puts pressure on the bone causing pain and inflammation.

The causes of this can be many like not stretching enough, running in the same direction on a track or even worn shoes. These all put extra pressure on one leg. Normally shin splints afflict athletes’ prominent leg. It affects the leg that the athlete uses more.

Who Are At Risk

Anyone with a flat foot is at risk. So are people who have weak muscles in the buttocks or thighs. Runners who constantly run downhill are also affected. Running on a concrete can also make you prone to shin splints. So many people who take part in athletics and sports are at risk if they don’t rest or stretch their legs properly.

How To Treat Shin Splints?

The first step to the treatment is to stop your running completely. At least you should reduce it to such an extent that it doesn’t pain. You may have to undergo decreased activity for about two weeks. You may be able to walk or swim during this time.

Using an ice-pack over the bone is good to reduce the swelling. You can also take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug. Using an elastic bandage will give you relief too. You can also try massaging your shin with a foam roller.

When you return to running increase the activity slowly. Also, alternate between two pairs of shoes to vary the stress. You should not be running uphill or on hard floors till the pain has completely disappeared.

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