Shin Splints Effective Ways to Get Rid of It
In this post, I will explain how to get rid of shin splints and how you can make sure they never return and be rid of them forever. But before I do that, let me explain.
What Are Shin Splints Exactly?
The term ‘Shin Splints ‘describes a condition in which there is a terrible ache or pain in the front or lower part of one or two legs. It is also known by its medical term Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, which is a bit of a mouthful, so the shortened form M.T.S.S. is often used instead.
Shin splints are caused when too much stress is put on the tibia (shinbone) and the muscles and other tissue around the tibia. Consequently, shin splint sufferers are usually fit and active people, especially professional athletes. Runners and gymnasts are particularly vulnerable.
Shin splints can also affect women that stand for long periods wearing high heels, as well as exotic dancers that ply their trade wearing the same type of shoes. So, now you know what shin splints are, what causes the condition and the type of people that are most at risk of getting it, let’s swiftly move on to…
How to Get Rid of Shin Splints
Several shin splint treatments can fast-track the speed of recovery (which I will discuss later). However, I must emphasize strongly the one thing you must always do is REST.
Lots and lots of rest allow your body to repair itself properly.
Unfortunately, professional athletes have little time for rest periods in their hectic schedules. The tournament coming up in a few weeks or trials with a new college or club means that the athlete will often choose to train despite the excruciating feeling that their leg is about to explode!
This leads to more damage to the tibial tissues, making it harder to train until the poor runner or gymnast is experiencing so much pain that they can no longer teach. And, just to add insult to injury, the athlete now has a much longer recovery time – a 3-week rest period is now a three month rest period. In some extreme cases, the athlete never fully recovers.
Don’t Let This Happen to You!
You must start taking it easy when you are diagnosed with shin splints. It’s hard to do but essential to your recovery.
After a week or so of relaxation (or sheer hell as it feels to many athletes!) and if you feel up to it, you can partake in light exercise that requires little pressure to be put on the tibia, such as swimming or using a stationary cycle/exercise bike. This will maintain your fitness levels without damaging your tibial tissues further.
The following week, if you are not feeling the pain of shin splints, you can partake in your usual fitness routine under the following conditions:
- Both the duration and intensity of your practice should be reduced to about two-thirds.
- Training should be done on softer surfaces (e.g. such as grass).
- Training should be done on flat surfaces (e.g. no uphill/downhill running).
- If you feel any pain whatsoever in your shins, you should stop immediately and return to resting.
Having discussed the importance of rest in your rehabilitation and laid out a rough 3-week guide to recovery, it’s time to look at the other treatments available.
What Treatments Are Available for Shin Splints?
You can speed up the rehabilitation process by reducing the swelling of these muscles around your shin.
Perhaps the easiest way to reduce inflammation is by holding an ice pack or bag of frozen peas over your tibia. Alternatively, compression bandages such as A.C.E. bandages perform a similar function. In rare cases, your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.
Talking of drugs, you may wish to take painkillers to help take the edge off the pain. Regular painkillers, such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, can be obtained over the counter, are usually more than adequate.
Massage has also been known to help in the recovery of shin splints. For the best results, employ the services of a qualified sports masseur. However, there is nothing wrong with asking your partner to massage your legs or even doing it yourself. There are also specialized sports massagers available that can help.
To sum up, if you suffer from shin splints, the first thing you need to do is STOP and REST. Then follow this three week recovery program:
WEEK 1: Rest
WEEK 2: Light exercise that doesn’t put stress on the tibia
WEEK 3: Reduced version of the usual routine
Following week 3, you may return to your regular exercise routine if everything feels okay. However, it is worth considering maintaining your reduced performance indefinitely. The main points of the reduced performance can ensure you don’t risk another bout of shin splints.
You can use the treatments described above to reduce inflammation and pain throughout your rehabilitation.