Shin splints don’t have to be suffered in silence

Shin splints dont have to be suffered in silence

by Laura Dillavou

As outside temperatures increase, so do the number of outdooractivities. The thought of working out amidst the sunshine andspring breezes is refreshing, especially after a long winterindoors. Along with new conditions comes common aches and painsthat many runners, tennis players and walkers face, including shinsplints.

Shin splints have long been known to strike early, when a personhas just started, changed or increased their workout. When theactivity is heavy on impact, like running or jumping, it causesstress and inflammation on the interior and exterior muscles aroundthe shin.

Often times, a person will feel the pain of shin splints the dayafter an intense cardio session, especially when the workout hasbeen moved to the outdoors where the concrete offers littlecushion. When running or walking outside, it is more important thanever to have shoes that offer support in the arch and heel, as wellas provide ample cushioning for pavement pounding workouts.

Flat feet and shoes with little support are often a cause ofminor shin splints in many people. If you are flat footed, try fulllength arch supports or a gel pad that fits inside the shoe. Anyextra material will provide shock absorption to your muscles andbones.

A shin splint can happen in two different muscles. The medialmuscle is on the inside of the bone and is often overused byexcessive running, stair climbing or walking. The lateral muscle isthe outer shin muscle and when a workout has a sudden change inincline or use, it is common to feel cramping and sorenesshere.

People can treat shin splints in a variety of ways. The easiestanswer is to stretch properly before and after a workout,especially if you have increased distance or intensity. A calfstretch against the wall is easy and will loosen the area aroundthe shin. Simply flexing the foot up and down can also help tostretch the lateral muscle. If you have been walking uphill, thisis a key stretch.

Physicians, doctors and trainers recommend icing and massagingthe shin, should the pain become excessive or repetitive. Anotherway to gradually help the problem is to use weight training tobuild the muscle and gain strength in the legs.

Over time, shin splints do become more serious than muscleinflammation. Constant impact and the wear and tear of everydayworkouts can lead to stress fractures on the tibia bone. Stressfractures are tiny, hairline breaks on the skeleton, that, withoutproper treatment and attention, can cause bone fractures.

The most common cause of these types of injuries is overuse.Gradually increasing your workout regimen and intensity is the bestway to avoid any pain or injury, no matter where it is on yourbody. For more information on shin splints and treatment,, where there are many articles on the causes andcures for them and alternative workout solutions.