How to Treat and Prevent Shin Splints from Running

Shin splints are a common condition among runners that can cause pain and discomfort along the front of the lower leg. The condition is typically caused by overuse or repetitive strain on the shinbone (tibia) and the surrounding muscles and tendons. If left untreated, shin splints can lead to more serious injuries, such as stress fractures.

7 Deadly Running Training Errors That Many Runners Make & How You Can Avoid Them So You Can Continue Running The Mileage You Want. More 4 Life Physical Therapy, St. Louis MO

Symptoms of Shin Splints

The most common symptom of shin splints is a sharp pain or ache along the front of the lower leg. This pain is typically felt during and after exercise, and may be accompanied by swelling and tenderness in the affected area.

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing symptoms of shin splints, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the most effective ways to treat and prevent shin splints:

1. Rest: The first step in treating shin splints is to rest the affected leg. Avoid any activities that exacerbate the pain, such as running or jumping.

2. Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Wrap a cold pack or bag of ice in a towel and apply it to the shin for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

3. Compression: Wearing a compression bandage or sleeve can help reduce swelling and provide support to the affected area.

4. Elevation: Elevating the affected leg above the level of the heart can help reduce swelling and improve circulation.

5. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide targeted exercises and stretches to help improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the affected leg.

6. Shoe Inserts: Wearing shoe inserts, such as orthotics, can help correct any structural issues in the foot or leg that may be contributing to shin splints.

7. Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with shin splints.

Prevention Tips

There are several steps you can take to help prevent shin splints from occurring in the first place, including:

1. Wearing Proper Shoes: Make sure you wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for your feet and legs.

2. Increase Intensity Gradually: If you are starting a new exercise routine, be sure to increase the intensity gradually over time to avoid overuse injuries like shin splints.

3. Active Warm-up Before exercise: A gentle active warm-up allows your body to slowly activate the muscles needed for running by increasing the blood flow to those muscles.

4. Cool-Down After Exercise: A gentle cool-down allows the body to slowly lower the body temperature and relax the muscles, especially after a long or high intensity run.

A cool-down could include stretching exercises to improve flexibility, prevent post-exercise muscle stiffness/soreness, and prevent injury.

5. Cross-Train: Incorporating a variety of exercises, such as weight-training or swimming, into your overall workout routine can help prevent overuse injuries.

6. Listen to Your Body: If you start to feel pain or discomfort, take a break from running, focus on cross-training workouts, and/or rest.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

If you are experiencing shin pain or discomfort while running, or if you’d like to learn more about preventing shin pain, a physical therapist can help.

Physical therapists can help you improve your running form and mechanics to prevent unnecessary stresses at your shins. Improving your running form can also help increase your speed, distance, and prevent future injuries.

Physical therapists can also teach you specific stretches and strengthening exercises to address the muscle imbalances that are present. By addressing these muscle imbalances, it can help improve your running mechanics and help prevent future injuries.

Lastly, physical therapists can guide you on specific shoewear or any other foot support that you can use to prevent pain and allow you to continue running.

Physical Therapy at More 4 Life

If you are experiencing symptoms of shin splints, don't hesitate to seek treatment from a physical therapist. At More 4 Life, our team of experienced physical therapists is dedicated to helping patients recover from injuries like shin splints and prevent them from happening in the future.

We offer a range of services designed to meet the individual needs of each patient, including:

1. Manual Therapy: Our physical therapists use hands-on techniques to mobilize the affected joint or soft tissue and improve range of motion.

2. Therapeutic Exercises: We provide targeted exercises and stretches to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance in the affected area.

3. Gait Analysis: Our team can evaluate your walking or running gait to identify any issues that may be contributing to your shin splints and provide recommendations for correction.

4. Foot Orthotic Fitting: We can help you find the right custom foot orthotic for your foot type and running style to provide the support and cushioning you need to prevent shin splints.

Our goal is to help you recover from shin splints quickly and safely and develop a personalized plan to prevent future injuries. We work closely with each patient to ensure that they receive the care and support they need to achieve their goals.

Request an Appointment

Don't let shin splints keep you from enjoying your favorite activities. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your shins, contact More 4 Life today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physical therapists. We will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and gets you back to doing what you love. To request an appointment, you can give us a call at (314) 941-3970.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full affiliate disclosure here.