Overuse is one of the most common reasons why we feel pain in our bodies. Athletes are highly susceptible to overuse injuries because of how much – and how forcefully – they use their muscles, joints, and bones.
Runners, in particular, are likely to experience pain in their legs. They are especially susceptible to shin splints, which is a painful injury that develops in the lower leg due to repetitive stress. It is caused by inflammation in the muscle, front lower leg bone (tibia), and tendons.
How Should I Treat Shin Splints?
The primary treatments for shin splints can be performed at home, and they include the following:
Because the pain is likely caused by overuse, simply resting can help alleviate it. Take a break from your physical activity, and allow your body to recover. Rest time differs from person to person, and it will also depend on how severe the pain is. Sometimes, a few days will do, but it may call for weeks and even months of rest.
While resting, don’t give up all physical activity; it is best to engage in no-impact exercises such as swimming. After the pain is gone, do not immediately engage in heavy physical activities. Instead, slowly ease into them in order to avoid the shin splints from returning.
In addition to rest, you may also apply a cold compress to the painful shin area. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes up to eight times a day. Continue this treatment for several days or until the pain and swelling from shin splints subsides.
Remember to wrap the ice pack with a thick cloth or towel before you apply it onto the affected area in order to protect your skin. Otherwise you could give yourself frostbite if the skin is too cold for too long.
Medication and Supplements
You may also take medication to help ease the pain and swelling in your shins. Some examples of quality NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen.
According to research, one of the factors in shin splints is vitamin D deficiency. So, taking vitamin D supplements may help prevent the pain from recurring. Remember to talk with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.
Proper Shoes and Orthotics
Wearing the right shoes for your foot type and activity can significantly reduce your risk of recurring shin splints. If you are a runner, buy new running shoes after using them for about 500 miles. Also, opt for shock-absorbing insoles – also called orthotic shoe inserts – to support your foot arches and to reduce the impact when performing high-impact exercises, such as running or playing basketball.
Treatments for Shin Splints in North Dakota
Leg pain and injury can disrupt your training schedules and exercise goals; thus, it’s helpful to know about the various methods to help treat and prevent shin splints. Untreated shin splints may progress into a stress fracture and can develop into a more severe injury, so consult with an orthopedic doctor if your lower-leg pain does not improve with the basic techniques listed above.
Our orthopedic physicians at The Bone & Joint Center are ready to help you with your shin pain or other leg injury. Our board-certified healthcare providers have years of experience in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, including shin splints.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling (800) 424-2663. You may also fill out our appointment request form online now. Let us help you get back to the active lifestyle you love!