If you play or have played a lot of sports, you may have experienced shin splints at some point in your life. But if you’re new to exercise, or recently changed up your routine and are suffering pain in your lower legs, you may be dealing with the condition.
Shin splints can be identified by recurring pains felt along the shin bone which can occur before, during, or after running or exercising. The skin may be tender to touch and shin splints are said to be a stress reaction from the bone from over exercising or trying to exercise beyond the current level of fitness. High impact activities, wearing the wrong running shoes and incorrect technique are also thought to be causes of this unfortunate illness.
Prevention is always better than the cure, so being aware that shin splints may affect you is the best way to stop it from happening. Especially if you regularly engage in activities that cause high impact on the bones, like jogging on a hard surface.
Protective measures like running on softer, flatter surfaces, wearing proper running shoes with shock absorbent soles and thoroughly warming up and down before exercising can help prevent shin splints. You should also slowly and gradually increase your fitness training so that your body can adapt to the stress you are placing on it.
If you’ve already felt the wrath of the shin splint after a hard session of pavement pounding, your best bet is to put your feet up for a bit. Applying an ice pack to the affected area for approximately 20 minutes, three to four times a day can help reduce inflammation and if need be, anti-inflammatory tablets, like aspirin can be taken. Gentle stretching should also be undertaken, while low impact activities like swimming can help keep you active and off your feet.
Always consult a GP if you have any questions or are concerned about your injury.
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