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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael Rosson D.C

How To Treat Your Shin Splints (Part 1)

As the school year resumes and preseason begins, many athletes are seeking advice on treating their acute or recurring shin splints. Shin splints are not unique to runners; many athletes experience shin splint pain, especially at the beginning of a season or while playing stop-and-start sports like tennis and soccer.

Before we can successfully treat and manage shin splints, we need to understand why they occur in the first place. Shin splints develop from many factors, such as:

1. Repeated pounding on hard surfaces during activities such as running, basketball, or tennis.

2. Changing to new running or workout shoes or wearing shoes that don't have enough support

3. Working out harder than usual or training too hard or too fast instead of working up to a training level gradually.

4. Pronation of the foot or a sudden change of surface than you are used to can also lead to shin splints. For example, you might get shin splints when you switch from running on a trail to concrete or asphalt.

As painful and annoying as they may be, In many cases you can use home treatment to help relieve pain and swelling from shin splints. I like to refer to this as RISE. From the onset of pain you can rise up and get back into sport and do the things you love by following this progression from recovery to activity.

Rest: Rest is often the best treatment for shin splints. This doesn't mean that you have to stop exercising. The idea is that you can exercise as long as it isn't painful. You may need to avoid high impact activities like running until you feel better, or at least cut back on how often and how long you run. Here are some examples of modifications to your workouts:

  • Choose low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling instead of, or in combination with, running.

  • Run or exercise only on soft surfaces, such as dirt or grass.

  • Run on level ground and avoid hills.

  • Reduce your speed and distance when you run.

Ice: Ice helps to reduce pain and swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day.

Stretching: Stretching exercises, such as those that stretch the calf, anterior muscles of the lower leg, and hip, may also help speed up recovery.

Exercises: Here are some of the exercises that are beneficial in the treatment of shin splints:

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