If you have ever experienced a shin splint, you understand the pain and discomfort that it causes. We’ve all experienced that horrible pain in our lower leg that makes walking unbearable. Even though most of us have had shin splints in our lifetime, many of us don’t know exactly what they are.
Shin splints are the result of overworking the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue in your lower leg. As a result of physical stress (walking, running, jumping, etc.), the muscles in your lower leg begin to swell, placing more pressure on the bone. This causes pain and inflammation.
The pain is experienced along the tibia bone, and it should not be confused with a stress fracture. If you can localize the pain to a single point in your shin, it’s more likely a stress fracture than a shin splint.
Runners are the most common victims of shin splints, but dancers, tennis players, and other athletes can get them too.
Common Causes of Shin Splints Include:
- Overpronation (when your foot rolls inward)
- Poor stretching
- Worn out running shoes
- Too much stress
Although shin splints are uncomfortable, and sometimes frustrating, there are ways to reduce the pain. The most important thing you can do to heal is to take it easy, and avoid strenuous physical activity. While you’re resting, you can try elevating your leg, icing your shins, and taking over-the-counter pain medication.
If self-treating doesn’t seem to be helping, physical therapy can help you relieve the pain!
After a clinical assessment, your physical therapist will be able to determine if the pain you’re experiencing is in fact shin splints, and what you can do to ease the pain. Physical therapists will analyze your gait (the way you walk) and your footwear, and help you make adjustments so you can avoid future shin splints. Your physical therapist can also suggest exercises and stretches that will help you alleviate the pain if you have shin splints in the future.
If you have been suffering from shin splints and you haven’t been able to relieve that irritating pain, contact us today! Our therapists are trained to help you alleviate the pain, and prevent future injuries!