What Are Shin Splints?

If you experience very sore shins after a run or any form of physical exertion that involves a lot of running, then you could have shin splints. Many people seek physio in Auckland for this painful condition, so you certainly won’t be the only sufferer.

If you feel soreness, pain or even some swelling around your shin bone, then shin splints are the likely cause. The pain will fade once you stop exercising but in extreme cases, the pain can continue and could even lead to a stress fracture. This is why it is important to ask for our professional advice if you notice any soreness in the shin area.

Excessive stress on the bones, muscles and joints that surround your shin bone can cause shin splints. We notice that they usually occur after someone has made a change to their level of physical activity e.g. they might have started exercising for the first time in a long time, or they have increased the intensity of their regular workouts. But these aren’t the only factors contributing to shin splints. Flat feet, poor-quality footwear, running on concrete, tight lower leg muscles, poor running technique, muscular imbalance, or even being overweight can also cause the condition.

To reduce the risk of shin splints, there are several things you can do. Investing in some decent footwear would be one of the easiest things you could do - look for shoes with decent support and cushioning, especially if you run on concrete a lot. Shoe inserts or arch supports might also help. While we’re talking about running, try and avoid hard and uneven surfaces. Soft, flat surfaces like a sports field will reduce the ongoing impact that leads to shin splints.

Another suggestion is to take a more gradual approach if you’re increasing the intensity of your workouts. Don’t jump in boots and all. Instead, raise the intensity of your workouts each week to help your body adjust and gradually build strength.

In most cases, the best way to treat shin splints is to take a break from your regular physical activities and allow your body to recover. At this time, we might suggest you keep your legs elevated and apply ice packs to your shins, but this is something we can discuss if you seek treatment.

We recommend you get in touch with us because we can certainly help you. For example, we can help you safely raise the level of physical activity as your body recovers. We might also be able to show you some stretches that will lessen the tension in the muscles that surround the shin bone. We could even look at potential issues with your biomechanics and improve your running form which, in turn, can lessen the occurrence of shin splints. Whatever you do, don’t ignore them. While shin splints are common, they can also lead to ongoing issues so its best you address the condition as soon as you can, just to be sure.


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