How To Get Rid of Shin Splints – Complete Guide 2022
If you have ever experienced pain in the shins, you are most likely one of the millions of people that have experienced shin splints.
Shin splints are a common injury felt by all levels of runners. However, it is not just runners that are affected. Gymnasts, dancers, military personnel are all others who experience shin splints.
However, there is good news. Shin splints are both repairable and preventable. So, if you currently experiencing this injury and searching – how to get rid of shin splints, keep reading to learn more.
What Are Shin Splints?
Whether you are new to running, or an experienced one, shin splints can hinder your training. So, knowing this, what are shin splints?
Even though shin splints are commonly used to describe lower leg pain, the true injury is called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS).
Pain is felt along the inner side of the tibia (shin bone) which is the largest bone in the lower leg.
Generally, shin splints occur when there has been a reoccurring impact on the bone tissue, tendons, and muscles around the tibia. This then leads to inflammation of the fascia.
According to recent surveys and studies, shin splints affect close to 10% of all male runners, as well as nearly 16% of female runners.
However, there is good news. Shin splints aren’t usually a serious injury and can be treated with the correct measures. Which means you can get back to running quickly. However, that is only if you follow the correct protocols, and do not make it any worse.
What Causes Shin Splints?
So, before we start looking at how to get rid of shin splints, you first need to know what causes shin splints.
Shin splints are usually caused by overuse of the lower leg muscles and inflammation of the bone tissue. This is usually due to an increase in volume, intensity, or change in the running surface.
Other things like tight calf muscles and running on uneven, or hard surfaces are also known to cause pain in the shins.
However, one of the most common causes is people using incorrect footwear. Shoes that don’t provide enough cushioning or that don’t support the foot can often place more stress on the tibia.
Some of the symptoms you may experience when dealing with this type of injury includes:
– Tenderness around the shin bone
– Soreness & pain along the inner side of your shin bone
– Mild swelling
During the early stages of shin splints, the pain will ease once you start exercising. However, as the injury gets worse, pain can be continuous and may progress into a stress fracture.
Generally, pain is often felt in the morning and at night when there is less blood flowing to that area.
Unfortunately, you are more at risk of shin splints if:
– An overweight runner
– A beginner runner
– Suddenly increase the volume or intensity of your training
– You run consistently on uneven terrain
– Run mostly on hard surfaces like concrete
– You have flat feet or high arches
So, if any of the above ring a bell, immediately reduce your training load, or move to a more cushioned running surface. That is at least to the injury subsides. If you are someone that has high arches or flat feet, take a trip to a podiatrist and look at orthotics to help support the arch.
Alternatively, if you are a beginner runner, ease back the training for a while and once recovered, slowly build up the training volume again. But this time much slower than before.
How to Get Rid of Shin Splints? Complete Guide
Luckily, if you are dealing with shin pain, there are some simple ways to treat this injury. So, let’s find out how to get rid of shin splints.
First, you need to know if you are dealing with this injury or another. A simple trick is to check yourself.
You can do this by squeezing the next to the tibia (inside of the leg next to the shin bone). Then run your thumb down the inside of the shin bone and surrounding muscles.
If you feel any bumps along the bone, or areas of pain, you are most likely positive for this injury. Another test is the simple hop test. You can do a test by:
1. Standing up straight
2. Lift one leg off the ground
3. Hop on the opposite leg
If you feel pain along the tibia or shin bone with each landing, you are most likely dealing with mild symptoms of shin splints. However, if the pain is intense or if it is impossible to hop, you may be dealing with a stress fracture. However, if this is the case, speak with your doctor and they can confirm this with an MRI scan.
Now, let’s get into how to treat and get rid of shin splints.
Even though it is common knowledge when dealing with an injury, the best form of attack is rest. Even a few day’s rest can decrease pain dramatically. However, if you have been dealing with pain and discomfort for a while, you may want to rest for more than a few days.
Icing your shins has been widely used to treat shin splints for years. That is because regular icing can help ease pain and swelling.
It is recommended that you spend 15-20 minutes icing the surrounding area, or until it is at least numb. Doing so can help to ease pain, reduce swelling and also help with recovery.
If icing regularly isn’t working for you, you can try using a compression sleeve or sock. It can help to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery time. This is because compression around the lower leg will help increase oxygen and blood flow to the surrounding areas.
Another way is to get regular massage during this time. Massage around the lower leg shins can help improve blood flow, and break apart any muscle knots next to the tibia bone. Thus, reducing pain and tenderness. However, bare in mind for most people, it will be a painful experience.
Then last but not least is an anti-inflammatory medication. Anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce swelling, and more importantly, reduce pain.