Also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, Shin Splints are a common condition for athletes, runners, tennis players and dancers. Shin splints is a pain that is located below the knee and along the shin bone, it can either be on the outside of the shin (anterior shin splints) or the inside (medial shin splints).
It presents itself as either a sharp pain or dull ache in one or both legs. Another signal for Shin Splints is a pain that increases after exercise or when you touch the area, the pain will decrease with more rest.
Shin Splints can be caused by a number of factors, the most common being a sudden increase to your training. If you don’t slowly build your training especially for seasoned runner’s who are constantly changing the amount of mileage they cover, you can put the muscles under extra strain when you fluctuate, upping your mileage too quickly. Other Causes are
-A lack of warming up
-Not getting enough rest
-Landing on hard surfaces
-Poor or ill-fitted footwear
-Tight/short achilles tendon
-Poor or incorrect technique
-Bio-mechanical issues with foot movement
-Previous injury affecting your moment pattern
If you have Shin Splints there are definitely things you can be doing to help your body recover quickly.
- Stretching helps to reduce the tightness in the muscle and in-turn minimises pain. The series of stretches above are great ways to stretch out the muscles at the front of the leg (Tibialis Anterior & Posterior).
- Rest will be the best cure for your pain! Hard to hear when your in training but it will always be your first port of call.
- Applying ice will help to minimise inflammation and reduce pain when it first appears . Apply for 20 minutes every 2 hours.
- Only return to your sport when the symptoms have resolved themselves. This can be anywhere from 2-4 weeks. When you do get active again build up your training gradually, starting slow and building up intensity over a 6 week period.
- Try to keep to a softer terrain as it will reduce impact on the feet and help prevent further injury.
- Look at your footwear, it’s probably the time to invest in some well fitted shoes.
- Throughout your recovery period and as you build up your training try to get regular massage. Massage helps to reduce pain, increase the length of muscles & decrease your recovery time. Meaning you can get back to being you quicker.