One of the most common runners’ complaints is Shin splints (also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS)). The word shin splints describes pain/discomfort that gets worse during running or exercise around the front of the lower shin. Shin splints are usually developed by overuse, and a registered physiotherapist will do a detailed assessment to diagnose shin splints and develop a treatment plan to resolve them.
Shin splints are painful and uncomfortable but here are a few tips to effectively manage them.
Shin splints are considered an overuse injury. In the short term, rest will help the pain, and it is advised to rest for a period of time before beginning to run again. Start with shorter, slower distances instead of jumping right back into long distances when you start running again. Start running once a week and work up to twice a week if you usually run 3 days a week.
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Place ice packs on your shins for a few minutes at a time. Icing will not treat your shin splints but will help effectively manage your pain after running.
Change up your workout routine
Adding resistance training to your workout routine can help reduce your pain by helping your muscles & tendons increase their capacity. Incorporating other types of aerobic exercise into your routine, like cycling, rowing, or the elliptical in place of running, can also help. Shin splints commonly come from the impact from running on hard or uneven surfaces. Replacing running with a different type of exercise once a week can help.
Stretching, warm-ups and cool-downs
Stretch your calves and shins before running to increase the flexibility in your legs. Warm-up before your workout to prepare your muscles and cool down at the end of it to help your muscles recover.
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Footwear & Orthotics
Think about how long you have had your running shoes. Good shoes are important as they act as shock absorbers every time your foot hits the ground. If the sole of the shoe is worn, shoes lose their shock absorption. Try a new pair of shoes with more cushioning and see how you get on.
Also, consider seeing a chiropodist for a pair of orthotics. Custom orthotics can help align and stabilize your foot and ankle, taking stress off of your lower leg. They can also be beneficial if you have flat feet.
Our physiotherapists at Triangle Physiotherapy can help resolve your shin splints and get you back to running or any other sport that you may love! Call us to book your assessment or book online here.