Let us first understand what shin splints are!
Shin splints can be said to be a broad title, which includes a number of pains which can affect the shin area. Shin splints also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is a common condition occurring in soldiers and runners. However, it can happen to anyone else also. The main cause of this problem is shoes – if you walk in shoes for a long duration of time, you can face the condition.
Why does this occur? One of the reasons is that when we walk for prolonged periods in our shoes, the tendons and muscles usually rub against the shin bone. This leads to an inflammation. It is also said to be a friction burn, which is a bit more intense. The pain in the shin is quite difficult and causes a lot of discomfort in people.
There are a few things which need to be taken into account with MTSS. If you are feeling a pain in the shin, remember that you should not train this pain. If you do this, the inflammation shall increase further and it will become unbearable. If you have an injury and you train for a long time, it is going to aggravate further and cause more discomfort.
How does a person get shin splints?
This can be caused due to several reasons. If you run on a very hard surface for a long time, which has a constant impact on the body, you might get the condition. So much running can cause an inflammation in the leg muscles. If you overuse your leg muscles, you can suffer from the condition. Those who run too much on grass or sand can also suffer.
One more reason can be calve tightness. This can cause MTSS flare up. If your calves are tight, it means your anterior leg muscles need to work extra hard so that you are able to maintain a good foot lifting action. This happens especially when you are running or walking or even fighting away resistance from calves.
Are you using a new footwear? In many cases, it has been observed that those who have bought a new pair of running shoes have developed the condition. Your new shoes might not be matching the running style and causing a bigger impact. It might also happen that your shoes are worn out.
Over pronating when you are running is also a cause of several injuries which occur over a period of time. This can happen when you face an improper landing and you are uncomfortable. If this is what actually happens, there can be problems in your whole body including MTSS.
New runners are known to suffer most from the problem, as their muscles have never gone through so much stress. The stress is continuous and can lead to a lot of difficulty. If you are a new runner, you need to be a bit cautious and always ensure that you have a good start. You can also get help from a sports therapist or a running coach who will help in analysing your running gait. You will be guided to a safe start, especially in areas where you are a bit weak. Such an area can be targeted so that you do not face future problems.
How can shin splints be stopped?
The primary way is to get in touch with a sports injury therapist. You need to get a detailed analysis done of the injury and make sure if it is MTSS. You should know how to manage the condition on an everyday basis. You can get a massage done on your lower leg muscles. This will help in easing the tension. You might also be given a cold therapy. You will also be given some strapping and taping which can provide you pain relief and help in blood circulation to the area.
A lot depends on your therapist and how you wish your treatment to be planned. Different therapists may suggest to you various varieties of treatment. You need to know how much relief you are getting from the pain before you choose the best treatment for you.
Lastly, remember to take enough rest from all physical activities so that your body is able to cope with the pain.