Although shin splints are relatively common, doctors have not been able to determine their direct cause. Most people who suffer from shin splints experience pain between their knee and ankle. The pain is thought to be originating from the muscles which attach to the shin. Athletes seem to have a higher likelihood of suffering from this condition, leading us to believe that high impact activities put stress on these muscles. Physical therapists have not identified treatments, but have been able to help patients relieve and prevent pain through stretches and exercises that strengthen the muscles.
Shin Splint Exercises
1. Calf Raises- By strengthening the calf, you will be able to take some of the pressure off of the shin alleviating some shin pain.
2. Kneeling Shin Stretch- This stretch aims to work the front of the anterior tibialis muscle to relieve shin pain.
3. Gastrocnemius Calf Stretch- Strengthens the back of the lower leg in order to remove the pressure.
4. Achilles Tendon Standing Stretch- This stretch helps the Achilles Tendon work more effectively therefore the shin is not overcompensating.
Shin Splint Prevention
Doctors think shin splints are an overuse injury that affects people who work too often, too fast, or too hard. Because of this, it is important to give your body an ample amount of rest and make sure your muscles are able to recover. There are a couple of recommendations experts believe help those who suffer.
1. Properly fitting footwear- Wearing shoes that support your feet and provide cushion can help soften the impact of high-intensity training.
2. Exercises- Physical Therapists often suggest the strengthening exercises above to help take the pressure off the overused muscles attached to the shin.
Typically, recovery will take anywhere from 1-3 months. This is dependent on age, health, and condition of the person impaired. A patient should allow ample time to recover without causing more damage by continuing to exercise.
The physical therapists at The Smith Clinic are uniquely qualified to treat you and any injuries you may have. We want you to be able to function and perform at the best of your ability without pain. If you are suffering from skin splints or any other condition, schedule an initial evaluation with any of our therapists and start down the road to recovery.