Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.
Athletes, especially runners, and people who engage in moderate to extreme physical activities, experience one of the most common injuries-shin splints. The rigorous workouts and training sessions go smoothly for few weeks, but long duration of trying to push your stamina can result in dull aches on the inside and lower portion of your shin. The discomfort might go away when during warm ups, but later on, sometimes the very next day, the pain can return. The reason is that the tibialis anterior muscle and the tendon get overextended while you're performing the exercises.
Treatment Tips to Follow
Shin splints require time and proper rest to heal. But it's always a good idea to consult with a doctor and get a thorough physical exam. In case the doctor thinks it's necessary, you may also have to get X-rays or bone scans taken.
- Rest is required.
- Ice your shin for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days.
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or aspirin for the pain.
- Wear Neoprene sleeves to keep your leg warm.
- Place arch supports in your shoes.
Stretches for Shin Splints
It doesn't matter if you're exercising or engage in any other physical activities, shin splints can occur at any time. So if you happen to experience it, do the following stretches to get some relief.
Standing Calf Muscle Stretch
- To begin the exercise, lean against the wall. Place your right leg forward and keep the knee bent. The left leg will be straight and the heel should be placed strongly on the floor.
- As you keep your back straight, lean forward from your hips till you can feel the stretch in the left calf muscle. Make sure that you don't raise your left heel off the floor.
- To increase the stretch, place your left foot on a step and then lean forward. This action will bend the right knee furthermore and make the stretch intense.
- Stand next to a handrail and find your balance. Place the foot that needs to be stretched behind the other one.
- Keeping your balance, bring your stretched leg forward till you sense the pull on the lower leg muscle. While doing this, you might have to bend both the knees for the movement to go as smoothly as possible.
- Hold your position for a few seconds, and release the stretch to come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.
- Sit in a chair with both your legs underneath it. Stretch them as far away as they can go.
- Keep your back straight as you try to point your toes backwards.
- Relax the toes and bring your legs back to starting position. Repeat as many times as you can, but don't overdo it.
Talk to your doctor, personal trainer, or coach to explain to you what else can be done besides the above mentioned treatment options and stretching exercises. You probably have to stop running immediately and hold off till the muscle is healed.