Shin splints1 are called as overuse injuries2 that are caused due to putting excessive force on your shin bone. The shin splints occur due to an inflammation in the tendons that connect the shin bone with the muscle. As a result, there can be a swelling on the shin bone and the pain can be razor sharp or very mild and vague.
Lifestyle Changes For Shin Splints
Shin splints can be curable and preventable. However, there is also a chance that they might come back again and again. That said, there is no need for you to stop running or bring your athletic carrier to a screeching, permanent halt. There are certain lifestyle changes that you need to implement. Making these changes will help you prevent shin splints in the long run.
Check Your Shoes
- Go for good fitting shoes, which provide a good support while exercising. Remember to replace the running shoes after you complete 300-400 miles. Using proper shoes is a good lifestyle change for shin splints.
- Over-the-counter and customizable Shock- absorbent insoles are available these days, which can remarkably prevent shin splints from happening again and again
Be Mindful Of The Surface
- You must not do exercises on a hard and uneven surface, slanting surface etc.
How You Exercise Matters A Lot3
- The exercise intensity should not be increased randomly, and you must go about it steadily. This is a good lifestyle change for shin splints
- Going for shorter strides during running can help in preventing shin splints
- During running, you must avoid heel striking and toe running. Make it as mid-foot as possible
- It is better to cross train in between as running can be quite shocking for your system. Alternating between running and other forms of exercise like cycling or swimming can help the body recover from that shock and prevent shin splits
- Before starting any exercises, a proper warm up session is absolutely necessary
- include proper stretches before and during exercises
- Undergoing a strength training regime, which is responsible for building calf muscles. Concentrating especially on toe muscles can be particularly helpful
- Avoid workouts that concentrate on a particular muscle group. The exercises should cause an overall development of all muscles and should not cause overuse or trauma of one particular set of muscles
Rest Is Important Too
- Take proper rest when there is a pain. It is a good lifestyle change for shin splints
- Exercising through the pain can make symptoms worse and can lead to further, more severe complications
- Any physical activity must be stopped in case you experience any pain or any other abnormal physical signs and symptoms4
- Take help of physiotherapists whenever needed
- Take medications if absolutely necessary. This is a good lifestyle change for shin splints
- Medicines may give you some unpleasant side effects
- Hence, do not use them regularly or without proper consultation with a specialist
- Ice pack or cold compress can help you alleviate pain and inflammation most of the times
Beware Of The Risk Factors Associated With Shin Splints
The risk factors for shin splints range from an anatomical abnormality to various exercises and activities. These include, but are not limited to-
- Weakness in the thigh or buttock muscles
- Flat foot syndrome, an anatomical abnormality
- Improper or misguided techniques of physical training
- Flexibility absence
- Running on an uneven or slanted surface, like downhill
- Running on concrete like hard surfaces
- Use of improper shoes for doing the workout or exercise
- Doing sports that have an abrupt stop and start, like soccer
- Doing exercises on an already tired muscles and tendons
- Those with flat feet, dancers, athletes etc. are all prone to shin splints because of the nature of their profession
Shin splints are caused due to overuse of leg muscles beyond their capacity. They are called an overuse injury. They are curable as well as preventable. However, they can come back again and again. It is advisable to make some lifestyle changes that can help with shin splints and can prevent them from recurring. Making these simple changes can keep you away from shin splints in future.