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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maya Gonzales

Understanding and Managing Shin Splints


Understanding and Managing Shin Splints

Understanding and Managing Shin Splints is an important topic because shin splints are a common injury, particularly among runners and athletes, that can cause significant pain and discomfort. In this blog post, we'll explore what shin splints are, how to prevent them, and various treatment options available, including some advanced therapies. We'll conclude with why Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine is an excellent choice for treating shin splints.


What are Shin Splints?


Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, refer to pain along the shinbone (tibia) – the large bone in the front of your lower leg. This condition typically occurs due to overuse or repetitive stress on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach muscles to the bone.


Symptoms


  • Pain along the inner edge of the shinbone

  • Tenderness or soreness in the lower leg

  • Mild swelling in the lower leg

  • Pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest


How to Avoid Shin Splints


Preventing shin splints involves a combination of proper training techniques, appropriate gear, and effective body mechanics. Here are some key strategies:


Warm Up

Before engaging in any physical activity, it's crucial to warm up your muscles. A good warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles, improves flexibility, and reduces the risk of injury.


Dynamic Stretching: Incorporate dynamic stretches such as leg swings, high knees,

and butt kicks to prepare your muscles for activity.

Gradual Increase in Intensity: Start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase

the intensity.


Stretch

Regular stretching can improve flexibility and reduce tension in your muscles, which helps prevent shin splints.


Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall with one leg forward and the other leg back. Keep your

back leg straight and your heel on the ground. Lean forward to stretch your calf.

Achilles Stretch: Similar to the calf stretch, but with a slight bend in your back knee to

target the Achilles tendon.

Shin Stretch: Sit on your heels with your toes pointed backward and gently lean back to

stretch the front of your lower leg.


Proper Shoes

Wearing appropriate footwear is essential to prevent shin splints. Shoes should provide adequate support, cushioning, and fit well.


Replace Worn-out Shoes: Running shoes lose their cushioning over time. Replace

them every 300-500 miles or when they show signs of wear.

Custom Orthotics: For those with flat feet or high arches, custom orthotics can provide

additional support and reduce stress on the shins.


Proper Gait

Your running or walking gait can significantly impact your risk of developing shin splints. Ensure your gait is efficient and reduces unnecessary stress on your legs.


Professional Assessment: Consider getting a gait analysis from a physical therapist or

sports specialist. They can provide recommendations for improving your form.

Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening your lower body muscles, especially the

calves, ankles, and hips, can help improve your gait.


Treatments for Shin Splints


If you develop shin splints, several treatment options can help alleviate pain and promote healing. Some of these treatments are more traditional, while others involve advanced techniques.


Active Release Technique (ART)

ART is a manual therapy that targets soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It involves specific movements and pressure to break down scar tissue and adhesions, improving mobility and reducing pain.


Dry Needling

Dry needling involves inserting thin needles into trigger points in the muscles. This technique helps release muscle tension, reduce pain, and improve blood flow to the affected area.


Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged tissues. It's particularly effective for chronic shin splints that haven't responded to other treatments.


Kinesio-taping

Kinesio-taping involves applying elastic tape to the skin to support muscles and joints without restricting movement. It can help reduce pain and inflammation while providing support to the affected area.


Why Choose Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine?


At Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine, we offer a comprehensive approach to treating shin splints. Our team of experienced professionals utilizes the latest techniques and therapies to provide personalized care tailored to your needs. Whether you're an athlete looking to return to peak performance or someone seeking relief from chronic pain, we are here to help.


Our Services Include:


Comprehensive Assessment: We conduct thorough evaluations to understand the root

cause of your shin splints.


Personalized Treatment Plans: Based on your assessment, we develop customized

treatment plans that may include ART, dry needling, shockwave therapy, and kinesio

taping.


Expert Guidance: Our team provides expert advice on injury prevention, proper gait,

and appropriate footwear to help you avoid future shin splints.


Don't let shin splints keep you from enjoying your favorite activities. Contact Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine today to schedule an appointment and start your journey to recovery.

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