Ask a Harrisburg NC Podiatry Clinic: How to Relieve Shin Splints

September 10, 2019

Characterized by irritated, swollen muscles in the lower legs, shin splints are usually caused by increasing mileage too rapidly, or by suddenly switching from soft to hard terrain. Fortunately, shin splints often go away on their own, so treatment mainly involves relieving the painful symptoms. If you’re suffering from shin splints, here are some tips that will help you get back on track.

Rest Your Legs

The most important thing to do when suffering from shin splints is to rest your legs so that they have time to heal. If completely eliminating your cardiovascular workout doesn’t sit well with you, try cross-training with a low-impact sport, such as swimming or stationary biking.

Ice and NSAIDs

Ice is the tried-and-true method for reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Try applying ice to your shins for 20 minutes a day until the pain subsides. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can also help significantly reduce pain and swelling. Try using ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen in small doses according to the package directions.

Wear the Right Shoes

When diagnosing the cause of your shin splints, take a look at your feet. In some cases, shin splints can be caused or exacerbated by wearing the wrong shoe for your foot type. Buying a more supportive running shoe, or investing in custom shoe inserts, can help fix the issue.

Stretch Gently   

As you continue to recover, gently stretch your Achilles tendon and calves to help strengthen the muscles in the area. You can perform stretches on your own, or with the help of a physical therapist. Click here to see some popular shin splint relief stretches.

Use Foam Rollers

Part of the problem with shin splints is tight fascia, the tough material that wraps most of our muscles. Run your shins and calves over a foam roller for several minutes several times a day to help loosen the fascia. Manual massage can help as well.

See a Professional Harrisburg NC Foot Doctor

If you are experiencing shin splints, make sure to see a doctor for proper diagnosis. Leg stress injuries can easily become stress fractures, which can sideline you for a long time and may require surgery. If you need a podiatrist in Harrisburg NC, make an appointment with Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic today!