Ouch!. Nobody likes a shin splint (aka medial tibial stress syndrome). And the problem with a shin splint is that they are ever so common - I get them all the time. I have to admit, it really stresses me out to hear someone ask, "What's a shin splint?" because hasn't everyone suffered from this at some point? Not to be petty, but come on. It's just not fair. For anyone who doesn't know, a shin splint is simply pain along the front bone of your lower leg. It happens after any form of exercise jars the area.
You were asking about ways to make it better - you can put ice on the splints after you have them, take some pain medicine and rest - certainly don't throw on a pair of high heel shoes!
To prevent the injury next time, get some supports for your shoe. Sometimes, those Gel-ins are enough to handle it. Notice when they crop up - is it only when you're wearing a certain shoe or is it when you run on pavement? If it's the shoe, invest in a better pair with the guidance of a shoe professional. If its where you run, experiment with softer surfaces. But ouch. I feel your pain. Nobody likes a split.
Rest and Rollers. Hi,
Shin splints stink! Rest, ice, massage those shins, and take a few days off of running (more if you need to). Cross-train with biking, swimming, or any other non-running activity you like that doesn't aggrevate your shins. You can also use a foam roller on your shins (do this before you stretch). Massage the left and right sides of the shin, but not directly on the bone. When you do resume running, make sure the return is gradual, and stick to softer surfaces such as trails, track, and treadmill, before pounding pavement. For preventative maintenance, make sure to increase your milage by no more than 10 percent each week, and make sure your shoes are in good shape and are appropriate for your foot type. Check your stride to make sure you're landing mid-foot and not on the heel for better shock absorption. If your symptoms don't clear up in about two weeks, get thee to a doctor, preferably a sports medicine specialist, because you could have a more serious problem.
prevention. I used to get shin splints a lot in high school, and saw a sports medicine doc who told me that they can sometimes be caused by an imbalance in muscle in your shin and calf and that doing exercises (once they've healed!!!) may prevent you from getting them again in the future. He suggested raising slowly onto your tip toes and lowering. Do a couple of sets of these, but take it slowly, increasing amounts really gradually.
Over/under pronation. Like you, I always get shin splints. In my case, there was a physiological cause. I over-pronate when I run. This basically means that my foot rolls inward after striking the ground. This type of stepping can lead to shin splints. It's also possible to under-pronate where your ankle rolls to the outside on every stride. One simple way to alleviate this is to buy a better running shoe. Some are designed for more support if you over-pronate. Google it and you'll find lots of stuff on this.
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