One of the harshest and most painful injuries that people suffer from are shin splints. While a relatively minor injury that does not involve surgery to correct, it does require plenty of rest and careful training to help prevent the injury from becoming worse. Taking a few minutes to acquaint yourself with shin splints and how they are caused can help you to avoid these painful little injuries and ensure that you are not suffering downtime because of them.
A shin splint in its simplest form is when the muscles and tendons of the lower leg pull away from the tibia. It is possible to have a shin splint that results in muscle and tendon damage to the fibula as well; however, this is much less likely since shin splints usually are associated with pain in the front of the lower leg, rather than the side.
Shin splints are typically caused by overstraining the muscles along the front of the leg. Running, dancing and various other activities can cause the muscles stress and fatigue, however it is weight that is sometimes blamed for shin splints. It is important to notice that rather than weight being the factor that determines shin splints, it is instead the impact of the weight onto the legs and muscles that cause shin splints. Because of this, it is possible for someone who weights 80 pounds to experience shin splints, just as someone who weights 300 pounds can experience shin splints.
Some of the methods that can really agitate the muscles are running or exercising on extremely stiff and hard surfaces such as concrete for prolonged periods of time, exercising or running on ground that is uneven causing additional strain on the muscles at times and even wearing shoes that do not fit properly can cause additional strain. Other factors that can increase the risks of shin splints include running or exercising uphill or downhill frequently and even starting an exercise program after a previously sedative lifestyle.
Avoiding shin splints may seem like an impossible task, however with some careful consideration paid to how your body functions and how you take care of yourself, it is possible to reduce the number of shin splints that you get. Remember, prevention should always be your priority, so that you reduce the time you spend healing after an injury.
Your first consideration should be your shoes. Having the wrong shoes can be a huge mistake. Whether they fit wrong, are they are just of poor quality having the wrong shoes is like pulling the muscles from your leg yourself. Ensuring you always wear shoes that fit appropriately and provide the support and cushioning that you need can ensure that you are reducing your risk. Additionally, you should never wear tennis shoes to play basketball if you play frequently for example. Sports that you play quite frequently you should invest in the appropriate shoes that are designed to support your feet properly during play.
Next, you should always carefully warm up before ever starting to play. This will allow your muscles even those along the tibia to slowly stretch and become more fluid before moving into faster and more stressful movements. This is an essential step that cannot be missed.
Additionally, carefully checking where you are exercising is another way to prevent shin splints. Avoid exercising on concrete and other extremely hard surfaces. Choose gyms that offer suspended floors under equipment and choose grassy areas that are flat, rather than riddles with holes and slopes.
Your last step should be to engage in a strength and conditioning class. Generally, this short class lasts about 20-30 minutes and helps to slowly and carefully strengthen all of the muscles in your body. Remember, prevention should be your best friend.