Shin Splints refers to pain on the front part of the lower leg, along the inner border of the shinbone. Pain gets worse during or after exercise and improves with rest. It is an overuse injury common in runners, dancers, basketball players, and gymnasts. Shin splints often occur after sudden changes in the frequency, duration, or intensity of the physical activity or after repetitive strenuous physical activity.
Other factors that contribute to shin splints include:
- Flat feet or abnormally rigid arches.
- Improper fitting shoes-They do not support the feet properly.
- Inadequate warm-up or cool down.
- The weakness of hip, leg, and ankle muscles.
- Tight Calf muscles.
- Working out on hard surfaces like concrete or uneven terrain.
- Exercising with improper or worn-out footwear
Treatment options for shin splints-
- Shin splints resolve with rest from the activity that cause the pain. It is required to allow healing. Relative rest includes the change in the workout to reduce stress on the shin area.
- Apply ice pack on the affected shin for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wearing an elastic compression bandage may prevent additional swelling.
- Wearing shoes with good cushioning during daily activities will help reduce stress in the shins.
- Orthotics are recommended for flat feet and high arches.
- Ensure optimum levels of Calcium and Vitamin D under the guidance of your doctor.
- Low-intensity aerobic activity like swimming or stationary cycle can be done during the period of healing.
- Strengthening your hip muscles helps absorb more of the shock and pressure on the leg during exercise. Strengthening of foot and ankle muscles is also crucial.
- Single-Leg Bridging-Lie down on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Slowly raise and extend one leg while keeping your pelvis raised. Hold this position for 30 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Hamstring Stretch- The standing hamstring stretch is performed by propping your heel on a table, keeping your back straight, and bending forward at the waist. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. For a dynamic Hamstring stretch, lie on your back, reach hands behind your knee, keep the knee at a 90-degree angle, and kick up until you feel stretch.
- Quads Stretch- While standing, hold onto the back of a chair to balance. Bend your knee back by grasping your ankle with one hand. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
- Resisted Hip Abduction– Stand with a weight cuff tied above your ankle joint. Lift the leg with the weight cuff sideways. Hold for 10 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side.
- Kneeling Shin Stretch– Start with the kneeling position. Place your hands on the floor behind you and gently lean back, you will feel the stretch in the shin area. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, and repeat 5 times.
- Ankle ROM exercises– Pull your foot up towards you and then down so that the toes are pointing away from you. Repeat 10-20 times.
- Toe Drag Stretch– To stretch the Tibialis Anterior muscle in your shin, begin by standing up straight and bending both knees slightly. One foot should remain on the ground while the other foot curls. The curled foot’s toes should press against the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds before switching to the other foot.
- Toe Curls– Curl the toes of the foot fully, hold the position, and then release. Repeat this 10-15 times, thrice a day to develop intrinsic muscles of the foot.
- Heel drops– Standing on a stair or elevated platform, put your weight on your right foot while lowering your right heel past 90 degrees. Slowly raise back up and repeat before switching sides. Complete two sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
- Calf Raises– Stand with both feet on the edge of a step. Lift your heels by pressing up through your toes. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly lower your heels to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. This exercise uses your body weight to strengthen the calf muscle.
- Calf Stretch– Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Now step one foot behind the other with the affected leg at the back. With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, gently lean toward the wall keeping your back foot on the ground until a stretch is felt in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat 5 times.
- Toe walks– Walk on your toes to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot.
- Heel walks– Walk on the heels of your feet with the whole body weight on the heels.
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