How Long Shin Splints Take To Heal?
Usually, doctors say to rest for about 2 weeks if you get shin splints. But, if you can rest more, may be 4 weeks it is better as the regeneration phase last for about 8 weeks. The exact time period when shin splints heal is not known, but it may even take 3 to 6 months or a year.
You will know that shin splint has healed when:
- Your injured leg is flexible as the other leg
- Injured leg feels stronger as the other leg
- You can walk, run, sprint and jog without pain
Rest is to avoid doing the physical activity that caused shin splint. During these 2 weeks after the pain and swelling subside (usually within a few days) you can walk around the house, do your daily chores. The requirement during the inflammatory phase is to maintain the activeness of muscles in the body except the affected lower leg muscles. Shin muscles should be active very minimally just to increase the blood supply to that area to promote healing.
The correct time when you can return to your physical activity depends on the individual person, how bad the shin splint was and what sort of physical activity you are going to engage in. You need to consult your doctor and ask him when you can return.
Normal Tissue Healing
Let us see how the normal tissue healing occurs this will help you understand how long it will take shin splints to heal and the reasons for that.
Inflammation is not a bad thing; some of you might have the idea that having an inflammation in the body is not good. It is a normal process that occur in the body to repair the damaged, wounded tissues in the body, so, that it can perform the normal function. In shin splints also the muscles, tendons and bone is damaged therefore an inflammatory reaction occur in the shin to repair the these.
There are three stages in tissue healing:
Inflammatory Response: The main focus of this stage is to increase the blood supply to the area so, the cells that are required for repairing can be transported to the area. These cells can remove the damaged tissue and other particles to promote the growth of normal tissue. This stage lasts for about 3 to 5 days. As soon as the injury occurs, this phase starts. As the names say the inflammatory signs are present during this stage. Pain is the main symptoms, mild edema can be present, redness, increased temperature on the affected area also can be present and you will experience pain when you move the leg.
Repair And Regeneration Phase: The main focus in this stage is to rebuild the damaged tissue, this phase last from 2 days to 8 weeks. New collagen is brought to the affected area and laid down in a disorganized manner in the shape of a scar and there are weak bonds between these collagen fibers. The inflammatory symptoms are reduced in this stage.
Maturation/Remodeling Phase: The healing process progress and the tissue mature, remodel, improve the organization of cells and gets stronger. In this phase less collagen is laid down, but the cellular organization between the collagen fibers increase and gets stronger. Tension in the affected site is important as collagen must initiate along the lines of stress to hold the bulk needed for function. The exact day of tissue remodeling is unknown; it might take months or a year to remodel completely.
Inflammation is a normal process that occur in the body to heal the damaged, wounded tissues in the body, so, that it can perform the normal function. In shin splints also an inflammatory reaction occurs in the shin to heal the damaged muscles, tendons and bone. Usually, we say to rest for about 2 weeks if you get shin splints. But, if you can rest more, may be 4 weeks it is better. The exact time period when shin splints heal is not known, it may even take 3 to 6 months or a year. You will know that shin splint has healed when your injured leg is flexible, feels stronger as the other leg and you can walk, run, sprint and jog without any pain.
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