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Feb 09

What Can Runners Do About Shin Splints?

Painful shin splints is often associated with running due to the repetitive impact that the lower body undergoes with each jarring impact that is made. Shin splints, while painful and irritating, are treatable using a conservative approach that won’t mean hanging up your running shoes.

Shin splints are referred to as the pain you feel along your shinbone in front of your lower leg. The pain can be debilitating and will result is acute pain with nearly every step that is taken. This pain occurs in your tibia and is found most commonly among runners and dancers who have a regular impact with a hard surface from the ball of their feet. When experiencing this pain, it is advised that you take preventative measures to alleviate further complications and ensure that the inflammation has a chance to recede.

Shin splints are technically known as medial tibial stress syndrome. Common signs of shin splints usually are tenderness and some mild swelling in your lower leg. This pain is mostly found among runners who suddenly change their normal workout routine too rapidly. For instance, if an athlete has been running 2-3 miles twice per week, but then decides that they want to run a marathon and quickly progressed to running 5-7 miles three times per week, the body is going to have to adapt quickly. The stress and increased workload can put pressure on the body that may result in a potential breakdown.

By changing a running routine very quickly, your body does not have the time to adapt and the previous conditions it was accustomed to experiencing and recovering from are no longer enough. Your muscles, tendons, and bone tissue begin to become overworked and fatigued by the new, intensified training.

There are many ways to combat shin splints and help to ease the pain in your legs if you are experiencing shin splints. First, it is important to treat your legs with ice and plenty of rest after a strenuous workout. Using the RICE philosophy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), a runner can provide their legs with the necessary rehabilitation after activity while still being able to be active and continue training.

Another important aspect to prevent shin splints is to be sure you are wearing proper footwear and modifying your exercise routine so that you do not further inflict pain. Often times getting a new pair of running shoes or adding an insert or orthotic can be just what is required to reduce the stress of impact. As a guideline, it is important that you replace your shoes every 350 to 500 miles so that you consistently have proper foot care.

If you are experiencing painful shin splints that are not going away then contact Dr. Pedram Aslmand’s office to schedule a consultation to determine a course of action that can get you back to your training regiment.

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