(MOBILE, Ala.) - If you are a sports enthusiast, avid runner, or your regular day requires you to be on your feet quite a bit, you’ve probably experienced shin splints at some point in your life. The shooting or aching pain as you take each step is recognizable, and typically happens after overuse, or too much physical training.
The term "shin splints" actually refers generally to pain experienced in the muscles of the lower legs. Often shin splints occur when individuals are training incorrectly, but sometimes it’s just excessive muscle use that causes the pain.
Most people who have experienced the pain of shin splints know that it is attributed to over working your muscles. Often after a tough training regimen the pain ensues, causing you to almost immediately regret overdoing it.
Also, many patients experience shin splints because they have recently introduced a new routine into their life, a new job, new, or significantly increased, exercise program. Shin splints are most often described as soreness and aching in the lower leg muscles when standing or taking steps. Sometimes the muscle pain occurs in just one leg, but often times it occurs in both legs at the same time as the overuse was in both legs.
When there is increased demand on your muscles, through running or walking, the muscles that help to take on some of the shock of your heel hitting the ground are stressed. .
Luckily, shin splints are easily treated. Before seeing a doctor, evaluate all of your recent activities, and what specifically may have caused the shin splints. This is the first thing the doctor or chiropractor will ask of you, so it is good to be prepared.
Before shin splints even occur you can take easy preventive steps. These include ensuring your running shoes are in good condition, and that the shock absorbing qualities have not been eliminated from over use. If your shoes are visibly worn down, or the cushion is basically non-existent, it is time to replace your running shoes.
Another way to avoid shin splints is to make sure your shoes fit properly. If you are running in shoes that are not well fitted to your feet, you will more often get shin splints than an individual with properly fitting running shoes.
Doctors suggest you can also work on running on better surfaces; often softer or smoother surfaces are healthier to your muscles. Another technique is to run in a smoother style, making sure not to plant your feet heavily on the ground, causing unnecessary shock to your feet, knees, and joints.
It is also recommended to make sure you have a good pad in the heel of your shoe. Orthotics are often necessary which may be custom designed by your doctor for maximum relief.
Dr. Cormier recommends certain exercises following a bout with shin splints to make sure you do not suffer from them in the future. There are quite a few strengthening exercises that may help you. These exercise are generally prescribed after you have given yourself some down time to allow your body to naturally begin the healing process.
If you are suffering from shin splints, the first thing to do is stop what is causing them. If you have recently introduced a new running regimen, stop that for a brief time and focus on other exercises. You can reintroduce running into your exercise routing slowly after your shin splints have healed on their own.
Make sure that you are always warming up and cooling down before and after exercise, as this may also help to tame the bouts of shin splints you suffer from. And the use of orthotics may also prove to be valuable. Orthotics slightly adjust the way your heel hits the ground, and absorb much of the shock that may be causing the problem. A visit with your Chiropractor or doctor can help to diagnose the ailment and the best choices for a full recovery.