What are shin splints? What to do?
This is a sports related treatable condition usually associated with high impact physical activities (like running, jumping, etc). It is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, the inflammation of muscles, tendons or bone tissue around the tibia (one of the shin bones).
Patients experience the following symptoms:
• Dull, sharp or throbbing pain along their shin for more than 5cm in length which is usually aggravated by strenuous physical activity
• Tenderness in the area around your shin
• Pain in the lower leg muscles
Shin splints is overuse injury of the muscles in the lower leg. It can be due to:
• Sudden and intense training protocols
• Incorrect running technique and form such as a flat foot
• Running or jumping on hard or uneven surfaces.
• Wearing incorrect shoes during exercise
It’s commonly seen among runners, dancers, soccer players and military personnel.
• It is important to take a break from all physical activities and rest the leg as much as possible. In case you must maintain an active lifestyle, swimming is your safest option as it is a low impact sport.
• Cold packs
• Compression bandages
• Stretching to reduce tightness in the lower leg muscles
• Strength training exercises to build strength in the lower leg and core hip muscles
• Develop core stability
• Proprioceptive training using balance boards to improve joint stability and efficiency to adapt better to irregular surfaces, hence prevent injuries in future.
• There is also acupuncture, ultrasound therapy injections and extracorporeal shock-wave therapy but their efficiency is not yet proved.
• Treatment of pre-existing conditions like overpronation or flat feet
• The training plan for return to sports includes a warm-up, cool down, and a gradual increase in loading to ensure that the body has time to adjust to the change.
• The patient can do low impact and cross-training exercises (like running on a hydro-gym machine), which can be gradually progressed by slowly increase training intensity and duration after a few weeks.
• This can be followed by the addition of sports-specific activities.