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Shin Splints and Shin Pain during running

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to reduce weight, especially fat deposit around my waist. Since spot reduction does not work, I decided to start regular exercise so it helps to reduce weight and maintain a healthy body. I’m not a big fan of gyms or health clubs, so I decided to take up running.

The first week was tough as I could not run with a consistent speed and found myself gasping after every 100-150 meters. The second week was even tougher as I started to feel pain in my lower leg. I continued running (in pain) for another 3-4 days until I found it difficult to even walk. I consulted with a doctor who diagnosed me with Shin Splints, a common running injury. After following his treatment and exercises, I have never experienced shin pain.

If you’ve taken up running for the first time and experience bursting pain in lower leg, here’s my guide on how you can prevent and treat it. I hope you find it helpful.

Symptoms of Shin Splints

Common symptoms of shin splints include pain in lower leg, soreness along the inner part of shin, swelling in lower leg, fatigue and dizziness. Some people also experience numbness in their shin, which indicates muscles have swollen and are irritating the nerves. Also, you may not be able to walk, jog or jump because of severe pain in lower leg.

Diagnosis of Shin Splints

If you are experiencing pain in the front of the shin or pain in lower leg, there could be several reasons. It would be naive to conclude it is shin splints until a doctor confirms it. Therefore, as soon as you experience pain and feel discomfort to walk, run or jump, immediately visit a doctor and get your condition diagnosed correctly.

Do not think the pain would ease off on its own. I did this mistake and kept running in pain. A visit to the doctor happened only when I was barely able to walk. Don’t procrastinate and get professional medical help as soon as you experience consistent pain in lower leg.

Treatment for Shin Splints

The lower leg comprises of two bones – Tibia or the shinbone and Fibula or the calf bone. Of these two bones, the tibia (shin bone) bears all the weight of our body. Therefore, it is the most commonly fractured bone in athletes and dancers who use their legs to carry and move their body. When lower leg is subjected to excess stress, the muscles and tendons around tibia are overloaded, thus resulting into shin splints. This injury is medically known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).

If you’ve been diagnosed with shin splints, here’s how you can treat it to get relief from pain and prevent it from happening again in the future.

1. Rest – Rest is the best treatment for shin splints. This means you do not run, cycle or swim until your leg recovers completely. When I was suffering from shin pain, my doctor advised me two weeks of rest. During that time, I avoided going outside and would walk around my apartment and do some light stretching.

2. Ice – Ice packs are a wonderful solution to ease of pain and reduce any swelling. If you experience throbbing in your lower leg and see swelling around the shin, apply an ice pack and within minutes you will feel some relief from the pain.

3. Exercises – After the injury heals and your doctor permits you to run, jump or perform any physical activity, you should not rush. Start slowly to avoid recurrence of shin splints. Ask your doctor to recommend some simple exercises to begin with and you can gradually increase the intensity.

4. Orthotics – If you suffer from recurring shin pain, perhaps orthotics could be helpful for you. Orthotics are shoe inserts that fit inside your shoes to provide a stable platform for your foot to rest in. It’s better to have them custom made for your foot so your foot and ankle remain stable and in proper alignment while you’re running.

Conclusion: Shin Splints is a common running related injury. While it is easier to treat it, you should get it diagnosed early because if left untreated, it can aggravate the injury and may even lead of tibia fracture.

When I was first diagnosed with shin splints, I followed all the treatment instructions of my doctor and took full precautions not to stress my legs during the recovery process. I’ve learned a lot about preventing it and treating it since then. I hope you find the tips shared above helpful and beneficial to diagnose and treat shin splints and shin pain.

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