If you’ve ever had them, you know how painful they can be. Shin splints are pretty common but what exactly are they? According to Lisa Moore, Certified Athletic Trainer for CHI Health, shin splints are a muscular injury common along either the inside or outside of the shin bone. Most people think they are a boney injury when in fact they are caused by overuse or irritation of the muscle groups that run along the shin.
When are shin splints most common?
Shin splints are most common at the beginning of a season or the end of a season. They are commonly due to overuse - whether that's doing too much too soon at the start of the season with no prior training, or at the end of the season when the muscles are worn out, tired and exhausted.
How do you treat shin splints?
Proper footwear is essential in the treatment and prevention of shin splints. Having the best footwear for your foot type and running gate can help prevent or reduce the pain associated with shin splints. Once they occur, however, the best treatment is ice after activity, stretching the calf muscle, and reduction of activity as necessary. Pain up and down the shin is ok. Once the pain is localized to one specific area we start to worry about a stress fracture or stress reaction on that bone. That’s when you need to be seen by a physician to make sure no further damage occurs.