Anyone who’s been running or training for a long time has most likely been plagued by shin splints. More generally known as lower leg pain affecting the outer part of the leg or the inner part of the leg, shin splints are common among runners, tennis players, dancers and other athletes that put their legs through rigorous training.
The cause of shin splints is usually simple to diagnose: too much, too soon. If an athlete adapts their training regimen too quickly, such as ramping up mileage or moving from flat surfaces to hills, they are at risk for developing shin splints.
Often misdiagnosed as a stress fracture, shin splints can be identified as a more generalized pain that is more noticeable in the morning. Shin splints are also most painful when you try to flex your foot. So how do you get rid of this painful injury and get back on the track, court or dance floor?
- Decrease your training: While it’s probably the last thing you want to hear, experts recommend you decrease or stop your training all together until the pain subsides. Icing your shin during this time will also help reduce inflammation.
- Stretch it out: There are a number of stretches that will help treat shin splints, whether you are suffering from anterior shin splints (outside of the leg) or medial shin splints (inside of the leg). Try searching online for a stretch that works best for you.
- Consider cross-training: Most athletes don’t like straying from their training schedule, but in order to heel your shin splints, it’s a good idea to try swimming, pool running or cycling for a little bit while your shins heal.
- Return slowly: When you are able to get back into training, ramp up slowly. Runners, increase your mileage no more than 10 percent each week.
If you’re suffering from leg pain while training, consider seeking medical help to properly diagnose your injury. Denton Regional Urgent Care Center offers convenient hours and online check-in available, so we can have you treated and back to your day in no time.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.