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5 Shin Splint Solutions - Prevention & Recovery

Anyone who runs or jogs regularly is familiar with the symptoms of shin splints. What begins innocently enough as a little stiffness quickly transforms into throbbing pain on your shins and restricted mobility. While it is important to remember not to over exert ourselves, there are still more things we can do to prevent injuries as well as remedies to aid in recovery.


Prevention

Know Your Limits

The majority of shin splints occur when you place an unaccustomed stress on the bone and muscle of your shins. Anytime you train there can be situations when more stress is put on the shins than they’re able to bear resulting in pain and injury. Ease into a new level of training, don’t suddenly increase distance or pace radically. Stretch first and ease into your workout rather than going full speed immediately. Be a smart runner and enjoy your sport pain free for years to come.

 Get the Right Gear

As with any activity, having the proper tools will help you get the job done correctly. The same is very important in activities like running. If you don’t have the right shoes or clothing, you may face problems from that come from improper use. The right shoes can give the proper amount of support or cushioning and help prevent shin splints. Running shorts, compression clothing, and running socks would help prevent chaffing, provide muscular support as well as prevent overheating and moisture absorption.

 Recovery


Gradient Compression

There are a great variety of tactics you can employ to help improve the speed and comfort of your recovery. Having the right gear is as important in prevention as it is in dealing with shin splints. One example of a great tool to have in your arsenal is the gradient compression sock. These socks are built to provide a specific amount of pressure throughout the length of the sock. It gives more pressure at the ankle and decreases as it moves up the leg. This helps to stimulate better circulation to aid in recovery. Below are a few more supplemental methods that are equally as encouraged and important.


Ice
Ice is your friend. Your first course of action after injury should be to soothe the area in order to reduce inflammation. Be careful not to apply cold for too long or you will run the risk of tissue damage. Ideally you should apply cold for no longer than about twenty minutes and no more often than every three to four hours over the course of a few days. It’s best to make sure there is no direct contact between the icepack and your skin. Place a towel between to prevent frostbite from overexposure.

Use NSAIDs
Anti-inflammatory pain killers such as ibuprofen will go a long way toward providing temporary relief from the symptoms of shin splints and aid in further reducing the inflammation that follows this kind of injury. Be careful to follow the instructions and cautions on the container as the dangers of overdosing on over the counter painkillers are very real. There is a risk of liver damage associated with large doses of NSAIDs, and going over the recommended dose is most often no more effective in relieving pain.

Stop Doing It
The best thing you can do with an injury of this nature is to stop whatever is causing the pain. Pain is the body’s way of telling you to stop. Rest is an intrinsic part of the healing process and by itself will help resolve many kinds of athletic injuries. Often it is over-use that has pushed the body past the limits of recovery and caused the injury. If you suddenly increase how far you run, how fast or even how frequently, you’ll be increasing the risk of suffering shin splints.

Sometimes shin splints are the result of improper running technique due to structural problems with the feet. Problems with foot arches will frequently show as recurring problems with shin splints. It is important to consider these tips for prevention and recovery from shin splints. Talk to your doctor to examine your feet and recommend orthotic inserts for your shoes or even physical therapy to correct muscle imbalances that may be the source of your pain. Seeing your doctor to learn more can prevent possibly permanent injury from occurring and save you from more pain down the road.

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