Shin Splints: How to Treat & Prevent Them

If the muscles in your lower front legs are in pain, you may have shin splints, a common overuse injury for athletes, especially runners. Military members and osteoporosis patients are also at high risk for developing shin splints. Unfortunately, not taking time to treat your shin splints can lead to stress fractures, which take much longer to heal. Here are some tips for treating and preventing shin splints.

Decrease Overall Activity

Once the shin splint injury sets in, stop your exercise routine and give yourself 2-4 weeks to recover. That means completely avoiding repetitive exercise in your lower legs. When you don’t have any more pain, start with low-impact activities like swimming and biking. Gradual exposure will ensure the shin splints don’t return.

Ice Your Shins

Odds are that pain in your lower legs is caused by inflammation. So to calm the swelling, apply ice for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours. Do this until the pain is gone, usually for 2-3 days.

Practice Strength Training

Practicing strength training is a good way to curb your risk of developing shin splints. Strengthening your legs, ankles, hips, and core can help with your stability and minimize the possibility of muscle and bone injury in your front lower legs.

Get Supportive Shoes and Appropriate Shoe Inserts

You’re more likely to get shin splints without the proper footwear. That’s why we suggest investing in supportive shoes and shoe inserts to wear while exercising. This will minimize your risk of shin splints and help you heal quicker if you get them.

Replace Shoes Often

If you’re a runner, you’ll want to replace your shoes every 350-500 miles. Once good sneakers lose their grip and traction, you’ll be more susceptible to landing on your feet incorrectly, increasing the risk of shin splints.

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