The Best Remedies for Shin Splints

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"Shin splints" are the common name for medial tibial stress syndrome. Shin splints are caused by too much repetitively placed weight on the lower legs and manifest themselves in the form of pain on the front of the lower leg and even swelling. If not treated, the pain can continue to increase until placing any weight on the leg becomes unbearable. This syndrome is most common in runners and can usually be treated without a doctor.

Rest

  • The simplest solution for shin splints is to reduce the pounding the shins take. This does not mean giving up all exercise. If the shin splints are not severe, it may mean simply cutting down on the duration or intensity of the exercise. For more painful shin splints, instead of forgoing all physical activity, attempt activities that involve lower impact such as biking or swimming rather than running.

Reduce Swelling and Pain

  • There are several ways to reduce the swelling and pain that comes from shin splints. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes not only after activities, but an additional four to eight times per day. When icing, do not apply the ice directly on the skin. Instead, place a towel between the ice pack and the skin. Elevating your shins can also alleviate some of the swelling. In addition, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling.

Changing Equipment

  • Sometimes the solution can be as simple as changing shoes or adding arch supports. Different people have different strides and foot types, so finding a shoe that matches the foot, stride and sport is very important. Also consider adding arch supports to relieve some of the pressure put on the shins. Usually arch supports can be purchased at a shoe store, but custom arch supports can sometimes be necessary.

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