Treating Shin Splints: Five Tips for Successful Recovery

Shin splints are a very common and painful injury. Frequently associated with running, this condition is often thought of as an overuse injury. If you have developed pain along the inner edge of your tibia, it is possible that you have shin splints.

Suffering from shin splints can make the most simple daily activities painful. It may be beneficial to see a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon to rule out other issues such as stress fractures or tendinitis. Once you have appropriately identified the cause of your pain, it is possible to treat the issue at home.

There is not a quick fix to alleviate the pain caused by shin splints. However, trying these five simple steps can gradually bring relief.

  1. Use ice or a cold pack at various times throughout the day. Applying ice to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes at a time, can help with the pain. Remember, it is never safe to apply ice directly to the skin. Use a cloth or towel as a barrier to protect your skin.
  2. Rest your legs. Shin splints are often associated with starting a new exercise routine and doing too much too quickly. It can take weeks to recover from this injury so you will need to be patient and trust that rested the impacted area is the best course of action to treat the issue.
  3. Some medications can address both pain and swelling. Ibuprofren, aspirin and naproxen can be effective in treating both of these symptoms associated with shin splints.
  4. Physical therapy exercises can also be helpful in treating shin splints. Simply stretching the muscles in your legs can help with tightness and make activities such as walking less painful. Increasing flexibility in your legs can make a big difference. Additionally, working with a certified massage therapist to increase blood flow can be beneficial.
  5. Picking supportive footwear, especially footwear with orthotics, can be very helpful in treating your shin splints. For some people, footwear can be at the root of the issue. If you have been exercising with footwear that is not supportive, it is possible to develop a variety of injuries, not just shin splints. Therefore, choosing the correct footwear is both preventative and corrective.

If you think you are suffering from shin splints, be sure to see a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon to get a proper diagnosis. Specifically, a foot and ankle fellowship trained surgeon will have expertise in this area of the body.



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