If you’re into running or take part in a running sport, then you’re not privy to the sharp pain in the front part of your lower leg. This area, called the shin, especially in runners, is subject to something called a Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome or a Shin Splint. This pain is caused due to stress on the shinbone and its connecting muscles. Fortunately, a shin splint is rarely severe and can most often be treated at home.
A shin splint can result from the following:
- Ill-fitting shoes
- Skipping a proper warm-up or cool-down
- A stress fracture
- A week leg or ankle
- Flat feet or overpronation of the foot
- Poor core stability
- Tight hamstrings or calf muscles
- Inflexible muscles
How to cure a shin splint
- Rest your body and skip running for a few days.
- Ice your shin 2-3 times a day for the first few days.
- Loosen your muscles by running a foam roller against it for several minutes a day.
- Get a low-pressure massage in the affected area.
- If your shin splint is bone-related, then it’s best to visit a doctor to diagnose any stress fractures than to self treat it.
How to prevent a shin splint
- Check your calcium and Vitamin D levels. Eat foods rich in these two nutrients and take supplements if necessary.
- Avoid increasing your weekly mileage to more than 10%
- Cross-train to strengthen your hip and core muscles.
- Improve your running stride. Your forefoot should strike the ground in a quick slap-like motion.
- Change your shoes. They might be causing you more harm than you know. Try arch support and motion control shoes.
A shin splint can take anywhere between a few weeks to 3 months to get better. You’ll know it’s cured when you feel it becoming less painful and as flexible as the unaffected leg. Make sure only to hit the road again when you’re absolutely devoid of any pain in the affected leg. Running without complete recovery can cause some serious permanent damage.
If your shin splint gets worse, doesn’t get better or returns even after taking precautions, then it’s time to visit the doctor.