If you’ve ever had a burning pain in your shins forcing you to cut a run short or take a  break from your workout, chances are you have encountered shin splints. Shin splints are painful and can show up at the most inopportune times affecting runners and other  highly active individuals alike. In this article, we will cover what shin splints are, what  causes them and what you can do to prevent and treat them. 

What are shin splints? 

The term shin splints refers to what is medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome.  As this name suggests, the tibia (the long bone on the front of your shin) and its surrounding structures can become stressed or overworked causing irritation that is  typically felt as a burning pain along your shin. 

What causes shin splints? 

Though the pain you feel in your shin may seem sudden, shin splints rarely show up  overnight. Shin splints are generally a result of repeated stresses that develop into the  pain we are familiar with. These repeated stresses occur when we push our bodies  harder or faster than they are accustomed to. Over time  our bones and muscles can  become overworked and unable to deal with landing impacts or quick directional changes. Here is a list of some of the most common causes of shin splints: 

Inadequate warm-up period prior to exercise 

Excessive training 

Muscular weakness, imbalances or tightness 

Poor running technique or form 

Training on sloped or uneven surfaces 

Unsuitable footwear  

Flat feet (also known as fallen arches) 

What are the best treatment options for shin splints? 

While the best and easiest way to deal with shin splints is to prevent them in the first  place, traditional shin splint treatment involves a period of rest (a few days to a couple  weeks) from the aggravating activity and periodic icing for the inflammation. While  taking a few weeks off training is extremely frustrating and the last thing you may want 

to do, it is necessary to allow the overworked tissues time to repair. Unfortunately, however, without proper diagnosis and appropriate exercise modifications, shin splints  may reappear as soon as you restart your training, putting you right back where you started.  

Here are some helpful tips to prevent or get rid of shin splints: 

Stretch your calves and shin muscles 

Warm up before you begin your exercise 

Strengthen your core and leg muscles 

Check your training form  

Use a foam roller on your calves and shin muscles 

How we can help?

Though shin splints can be a setback in your training, they are treatable. Our care  providers here at Kauai Therapy and Wellness are trained to diagnose and treat the  source of shin splints to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. By treating the  root cause through evaluation of muscle strength, imbalances, and tension, along with  running form, unique foot shape, and footwear we can help you beat the pesky pain  keeping you from enjoying your workouts or getting out for a run during those beautiful  summer months.

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