If you're a runner you may have encountered shin splints, termed medial tibial stress syndrome. Pains that run down your shins normally affect athletes engaged in high impact exercise.
The condition can be very painful and usually falls into one of two categories. The first is anterior shin splints, which affect the front of the shin. These are caused by problems in the muscle responsible for raising and lowering your foot as you run or walk, termed the tibialis anterior. The second form of shin splints is medial shin splints, which are focused on the inside of the shin and come from weakness in the tibialis posterior muscle.
What are the causes of shin splints?
Essentially, shin splints are caused by working your muscles too hard, or jumping into intense exercise before your body is ready. High impact running, for example jogging on hard roads or on angled footpaths, can cause a huge amount of stress on your lower legs, and unsupportive running shoes often contributes to the damage.
Some common structural problems leading to shin splints include:
Weakness in the arches
Feet that roll too far inwards or outwards
Overly tight calves
Sluggish core strength
How do you treat shin splints?
A consultation with a podiatrist will enable you to get to the root cause of your shin splints, treat the pain and ensure you don't suffer further, more serious, injuries down the road.
While you wait for your appointment, there are several things you can do to manage the condition. The first step is to curb or completely stop high impact physical activity until your body has had time to recover. Following the first aid formula of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) will help to manage the pain. Make sure to protect your skin from ice burns by wrapping your ice in a cloth and only applying the ice for 20 minutes at a time, with a 20 minute break before the next application.
If you experience pain when you raise your toes while anchoring your heels to the ground you probably have anterior shin splints. Gentle calf stretches will ease some of your pain. Alternatively, if your pain is located behind your shin, on the inside of your leg, it is likely to be caused by medial shin splints or even stress fractures of the tibia. Stretching your achilles tendon will help.
Shin splints are inconvenient and painful, but with professional help you'll have your pain alleviated and you'll be back on track in no time.
Hi, my name is Julie, and in the past, I have been too embarrassed to wear sandals or flip flops to the beach. While all my friends had beautiful, silky smooth feet, I had crusty, dry and sometimes fungus-laden feet. My options seemed to be socks with sandals or avoiding the beach altogether. Since there was no way I was going to do either of those, I met with a podiatrist and launched on a journey to fix, protect and maintain my feet. Along the way, I learned a ton of facts, home remedies and foot protection strategies. I plan to include all of those ideas and more in this blog, and I hope the posts here help you.