Runners and other athletes often use the term “shin splints” as a catchall phrase to describe pain in either side of the lower leg bone. Read more to learn about shin splints and what you can do to avoid them from our expert foot doctor near Alexandria, VA.
What ARE Shin Splints?
The medical diagnosis for shin splints is known as medial tibial stress syndrome, or MTSS. Podiatrists and other fitness experts, however, don't all agree about where and what exactly is involved if you have shinbone pain. Some doctors think shin splints are related to a muscle tear that has pulled off the bone, while others think they are caused by inflammation of the muscle that wraps around the shinbone, or tibia. There are also other medical conditions that can cause pain in your shins or lower extremities that can be misdiagnosed as shin splints, such as a stress fracture.
Advice for Shin Splints from Our Expert Foot Doctor near Alexandria, VA
Thankfully, shin splints are treatable and usually resolve on their own after a few weeks of rest. Experts also suggest you refrain other types of high impact exercise, such as aerobics. You can also help the healing process by icing the pain and continue to gently stretch both your Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
Try These Great Shins Stretches
Our "alphabet" exercise is a great way to both prevent and recover from shin splits. While you are sitting in a chair, trace the letters of the alphabet on the floor with your toes, alternating between your left and right legs. We also suggest walking on your heels for thirty seconds, followed by regular walking – and repeat this exercise several times per day.
When Can You Start Running Again?
While our expert podiatrist recommends that you stop running or decrease your training until your discomfort disappears, we know athletes are anxious to get back to the activities they love! The following suggestions can help you recover from your shin splits and possibly prevent another occurrence:
- Wrap the affected area with tape or an ace bandage for added compression and support.
- Start back SLOWLY, and gradually increase your duration and intensity.
- Try including some cross-training activities in your fitness regimen, with less stressful activities such as swimming or biking.
- Check the fit of your athletic footwear, to ensure you are wearing the correct running shoe for your particular foot type.
- Avoid running on overly hard surfaces for less stress and impact on your shins and feet.
- Strengthen the muscles and supportive tissues in your feet, ankles, and calves with daily exercises.
- Keep stretching, stretching, stretching!
Ready to Get Going? Our Expert Foot Doctor near Alexandria, VA, Can Help!
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to podiatry, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center, with a convenient podiatry office located near Alexandria, VA, by calling 301.660.8225 or by clicking here .