Shin splints occur very frequently with athletes and particularly runners and the reasons for them are varied. Treating shin splints effectively, may start with identifying what is causing the problem. The person should remove the causes, in order to prevent them from recurring and to allow the leg to heal.
Shin splints is a term used by athletes, commonly referring to any recurrent lower leg pain. However, most commonly reported symptoms are front of the lower leg, or the inside of the lower leg. There are medical terms for both of these, but in simple terms, muscles around the tibia become inflamed and sore.
The symptoms vary with the person, but most often there is a initial period of pain in the shin before a workout which eases during the exercise then grows more severe over time. There may be redness or swelling of the shin area. Bending the toes downward may be painful. Bumps over the shinbone area may be present.
The problem is most commonly reported by athletes and this makes sense as athletes regularly put stress on muscles and joints that the average person may not. Runners are by no means the only athletes who suffer from this condition. In addition, finding out what is causing the stress on the muscles is very important in order to avoid a recurrence of the episodes.
Poorly fitted shoes may well cause this issue, and sometimes the appropriate treatments will include of a visit to the sports shoe store to find the correct shoes. This can occur because the shoes are wrong for the feet or because they are nearing the end of their useful life. Runners with a poor gait can suffer from from these symptoms and many more. A change of terrains can overstress the muscles, such as changing from dirt surface to running on a harder surface can be a cause.
Too much exercise too soon in the training may be an error that new athletes can make which results in painful symptoms. The list of possible causes goes on but the athlete will usually know if they have changed something in their training. In many cases, a visit to a sports medicine clinic or doctor can be the best way of identifying the causes as well as learning about treatment.
Applying heat to reduce inflammation such as with a wrap, can help manage the discomfort as well. In addition, some over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can be effective in reducing the inflammation of shin splints. However, as with any medication a person should use these with caution and may want to consult a sports doctor before pursuing any self-treatment.
Perhaps the best treatment is also the least desirable to the athlete. The injury should be allowed to heal and that means changing training to activities so the muscle is permitted a rest. To tell a runner to stop running or a soccer player to stay off the field for a period is no easy matter for the dedicated athlete, but is very effective in conjunction with pain relief and stretching exercises.