Various coping methods are available for shin splints. Some are used to heal, some for managing the symptoms3 and others are used to prevent recurrence.
Coping With Shin Splints
Shin splints1 are the self-healing conditions provided a better healing environment should be provided by the patient. The most important factor responsible for healing Shin splints is resting. Proper resting along with other measures should be adopted to heal Shin splints. Following are the coping measures available to patients for proper healing of Shin splints:
Training Regimen: Training regimen should be properly coordinated and the proper training schedule, at least for a week, should be in writing so that proper analysis can be done. The training can be done by following different training programs on different days so that there should not be any burden on a single muscle. Shin splints are due to repeated trauma on the shin bone and related muscles. For e.g. on day 1, running can be done and on day 2, swimming can be done. This will help in coping with shin splints.
Short Stride: Short strides are preferred over the long strides for reducing the risk of developing shin splints. As you run faster, the strides should be shorter so as the shin bone and the related muscles are under low stress and risk of shin splints reduces and this is a good way to cope with shin splints.
Do Not Overdo Initially: Many a time, in the starting phase of exercise or training, the person uses all his energy and do the workout outside his capacity. This will increase the risk of shin splints as the muscles ae not flexible for continuous stretching. Thus, it is recommended that the person should undergo a muscle warming session before exercise so as to make the muscles more flexible.
Wear Appropriate Footwear: Proper footwear can be used to cope with shin splints. Footwear is the important device which accelerates the process of healing as well as reduces the risk of shin splints recurrence. Normal shoes are devoid of arch support, so the risk of injury increases as the foot is landed on the ground. Further, the chances of injury are high when the foot lands in the flat position. Further, the shoes should be changed once they are not appropriate for using as using the torn shoes may increase the risk of shin splints.
Correct Posture While Walking Or Running: The person should maintain a correct posture while walking or running. The posture position becomes even more important when the movement is uphill or downhill. The body should not be leaned forward while moving uphill or downhill as this creates tension on the shin bone and leg muscles and the chances of developing injury are high.
Medications: Shin splints are characterized by pain and inflammation on the inner edge of shin bone or tibia. Various drugs are used to relieve from pain and inflammation. Most common drugs for coping with pain in shin splints are Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac or aceclofenac.
Exercise: Exercise is an important method to increase the flexibility of muscles and provide strength to the muscles. Exercise for shin splints should be done under the guidance of a certified trainer or a physiotherapist. Various exercises used for the management of shin splints include toe stretch, shin stretch, raising calf, rising hips, and forearm plank. They are generally used in the condition where the person has tight muscles and is prone to shin splints.
Supplementation: Various supplements are used in the condition of shin splints as they help in improving the strength of bones and muscles. Combination of Calcium and vitamin D3 supplement is one such formulation in which calcium is used to increase bone strength and vitamin D3 is used for increasing the absorption of calcium.
Resting: Resting is required to relive pain and inflammation and to provide time to heal the injured tissue. Repeated trauma on the shin bone is one of the major causes of shin splints.
Icing: To manage inflammation and pain, icing on the shin bone can be applied.
Various methods used for coping shin splints include medications, exercise, correct footwear, resting, icing and warming prior to exercise.