Got shooting pains going up your shin while you’re running? It’s called shin splints, and it’s common among runners, dancers and athletes. It is usually brought about by over-training or not giving your body enough time to rest. There are instances, too, when it is due to bad running form or running on hard surfaces.
Because it is really painful, you might end up abandoning your running or any other physical activity for the time being. Aside from pain, the affected area may feel tender and sore. It is said that having shin splints once can make you susceptible to future attacks, thanks to the so-called muscle memory.
Fret not because it is not the end of your running career or enthusiasm for it — there are many home remedies for shin splints that can get you back on track soon enough. Also, it is something that can be prevented from striking. However, it is a good idea to see a doctor especially if the symptoms refuse to go away. That’s because it could be caused by a stress fracture that needs medical treatment in order to keep it from becoming worse.
Before we tackle how shin splints can be prevented, let us first take a look at some of the most effective home remedies that experts recommend and individuals who have a bout of it regularly swear by:
Take a Break
Quit what you are doing the moment shin splints strike in order to save yourself from a great deal of pain. Sit or lie down, and have the affected leg elevated to lessen the inflammation. While recovering from an attack and you cannot say no to running, consider running short distances only.
Placing ice on the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap some ice cubes in a small towel and gently place on the tender areas of your legs. You may also opt for a bag of frozen vegetables. You may apply ice up to 4 times per day for several days until much of the symptoms of shin splints have gone.
Compress the Area
One of the best ways to prevent further inflammation of the muscles is by compressing the injured area. Wrap the affected leg in elastic bandage to eliminate swelling, ultimately reducing pain. Compressing the area works best together with plenty of rest so that you could go back on your feet in no time.
Regularly massaging the problem area with liniment can also help you attain relief from pain and speed up your recovery. The heating action of liniment helps promote blood circulation, supplying the injured muscles with much-needed oxygen and nutrients for their accelerated healing.
Take OTC Painkillers
For dealing with the pain, the intake of OTC painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help a lot. However, do consult your doctor about taking OTC pain medications especially if you are pregnant, diagnosed with a medical condition or taking prescribed drugs in order to prevent further problems from striking.
Not that you know how to deal with shin splints, it’s time to take a look at some of the best ways to keep the problem from showing up. They can be very beneficial especially if you are prone to having shin splints:
Stretch Your Leg Muscles
Before and after running, remember to stretch those leg muscles to make them less vulnerable to being injured. It is also a great idea to do some stretching exercises when switching to a different routine.
Wear the Right Shoes
There are times when shin splints are caused by wearing shoes that are not suitable for your chosen form of exercise. Put on the perfect pair of shoes and also consider the use of athletic insoles for further support.
Avoid Unforgiving Terrains
Especially if you are prone to having shin splints, it’s a good idea to limit or completely stay away from surfaces such as concrete and crushed gravel as they can cause the problem to occur.
Decrease Running Distances
One of the best ways to avoid shin splints is by running short distances only, especially if you are still recovering from one. It will help a lot if you incorporate other routines such as swimming or bicycling into your workout.