Shin splints treatment recommendations; 5 things you can do now to relieve the condition and have more fun while you run.

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Shin splints treatment recommendations; 5 things you can do now to relieve the condition and have more fun while you run.

Shin splints are a common running complaint. They are also common in dancers and other athletes as well. According to Wikipedia, "A shin splint is pain along the inside edge of the shinbone (tibia) due to inflammation of tissue in the area.[1] Generally, this is between the middle of the lower leg to the ankle.[2] The pain may be dull or sharp and is generally brought on by exercise.[1] It generally resolves during periods of rest.[3] Complications may include stress fractures.[2]"

Are shin splints the problem or the symptom?  

Shin splints are a common complaint of people who have low arches or flat feet, however, they also may occur in those of us who are bowlegged since those people tend to bear weight on the lateral side of the legs.   People with high arches may also develop the condition since their arches are very stiff. The muscles that attach to the shins are unusual since they do not have tendons but attach directly to the bone.  The typical muscles that can cause the pain include the tibialis anterior, the tibialis posterior, and the peroneii. If you have a loss of shock absorption at the ground, you are likely to develop shin pain from the impact of being poorly absorbed.   Running shoe manufacturers have attempted to develop new designs that buffer the ground forces, however, your body ergonomics and running habits play a part in why your shins hurt. Hoka is one example of a running shoe company that designed a shoe that helps change your running form while reducing stress on the lower leg. Nike just introduced another shoe that helps reduce stress on the shins and legs, although there are also studies showing that cushioning may cause other injuries. Your gait may be altered by an old injury, poor adaptation to your body mechanics over the years, or poor running technique can cause you to impact the ground hard.  The constant pounding and lack of shock absorption from the feet through the pelvis is the reason people develop the condition, and may eventually develop a stress fracture as a result.

How to get relief and resolve the problem

Recently, Shape Magazine published an article offering tips on relieving or preventing, and treating the condition.  They recommend ideas such as
  • Cross-Training
  • Starting slowly and not building up your mileage too fast
  • Stretching to improve the flexibility of the calf and the surrounding tissues.
  • Check your running form.

While these are good suggestions, here are 5 other things that should be considered including:

  • Have a treadmill evaluation.
  • Use foam rolling to loosen the legs, glutes and calves, and the surrounding fascia.
  • Consider foot orthotics to level your hips and improve weight distribution as you run.
  • Visit a chiropractor to improve the way you move.
  • Run at a faster pace to decrease ground impact and improve running efficiency.
A sports chiropractor is the ideal health provider to see first because they are holistic in evaluating and treating the condition.  While methods such as myofascial release and self-treatment may help, shin pain is caused by impact and a lack of shock absorption of the legs and pelvis.  This involves the body and the way you move.  Chiropractic sports physicians are primary care for the musculoskeletal system and will evaluate your shins, your pelvis, and the way you move.  Since shin pain is a result of impact from the way you move and impact the ground, a treatment approach that reduces ground impact and improves movement is going to help you the most. Feel better in as little as one visit.  See a sports chiropractor for shin pain. Charschan Chiropractic and Sports Injury Associates have two locations to help you with problems such as shin pain, knee pain, neck pain, lower back pain, sciatica, and even shoulder problems.