Your legs are incredibly strong and built to propel your movements and bear virtually all of your body weight, but unfortunately just about anything that can go wrong with them likely will go wrong. When shin splints are what’s wrong, you can hardly take a walk around the block without being reminded of your pain.
That’s where we come in.
Our team of orthopedic surgeons at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group has years of experience treating a wide range of sports medicine issues, big and small. Here, we walk through how we can make your shin splints a thing of the past.
Why did I get shin splints?
You do everything right: You wear the right shoes, you focus on your form, and you jump through countless other hoops to keep your body in tip-top shape. So how did you develop an annoying condition like shin splints?
The truth is that shin splints can happen despite your best intentions. They develop from repeated stress on your shin bone by pulling and tugging on the muscles and connective tissue in your lower leg.
This repetitive stress triggers inflammation and can even weaken your shin bone. If your bone doesn't have time to heal (say, because you’re training for a big race), the damage worsens and severe pain sets in.
Runners — especially those who suddenly increase their training programs — are usually the folks who get shin splints, but virtually anyone can get them. You’re most at risk for shin splints if you’re:
- Suddenly increasing your running program
- An athlete who plays a high-impact sport
- A dancer
- A member of the military who marches a lot
- Not wearing the right type of shoes
- Dealing with a vitamin deficiency, eating disorder, or bone disease
- Walking extreme distances
Shin splints may come for you if you have flat feet, high arches, or rigid arches, as well. Weak ankles and hips, and even flimsy core muscles can contribute to shin splints.
What are my treatment options?
Wherever your shin splints came from, we know that getting rid of the pain is priority number one. Fortunately, shin splints are easy to treat, and with our help, we can have you back on your feet in no time.
Depending on your needs, we may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Custom orthotics
- Anti-inflammatory pain medicine
- Taping, bracing, or casting
- Electrical stimulation
- Physical therapy
- Activity modification
Sometimes, simply resting is just what the doctor ordered. Taking a break from your routine is a great way to give your body the time it needs to heal.
If your shin splints don’t improve or if they come back, we can discuss physical therapy as a treatment option.
Worried about being sidelined? You don’t need to walk away from your workouts completely. Just do your best to stay away from high-impact movements, and focus your energy on other areas of your body while your legs heal.
Your shin splints are healed when:
- Your injured leg is just as flexible as the other leg
- Your injured leg feels stronger
- You don’t have pain anymore when you press on your leg
- You can jog, sprint, and jump with no pain
Shin splints take around three to six months to heal completely, but that could be shorter or longer depending on what’s caused them and how severe they are.
How do I avoid shin splints in the future?
There’s no guarantee that you’ll never get shin splints again, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to keep them at bay for as long as possible. The first step is to invest in a pair of properly fitting, supportive shoes.
We also recommend that if you’re going to start a new training program, do so gradually. Always listen to your body, and stop an activity at the first sign of discomfort. Strengthening your other leg muscles and cross-training are other good ways to keep your legs healthy.
Shin splints are frustrating, but they don’t have to sideline you for long. Call our friendly staff, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.