Shin splints are an inflammation of the lower leg. They cause great pain and are often a sign of over use of the area due to overload(or training error) and Bio mechanical Inefficiencies.
Overload (or training errors): Shin splints are commonly associated with sports that require a lot of running or weight bearing activity.
In other words, it's not the running itself, but the sudden shock force of repeated landings and change of direction that causes the problem. When the muscles and tendons become fatigued and overloaded, they lose their ability to adequately absorb the damaging shock force.
Other overload causes include:
- Exercising on hard surfaces, like concrete;
- Exercising on uneven ground;
- Beginning an exercise program after a long lay-off period;
- Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly;
- Exercising in worn out or ill fitting shoes; and
- Excessive uphill or downhill running.
Over-pronation occurs when the foot and ankle continue to roll excessively inward. This excessive inward rolling causes the tibia to twist, which in-turn, over stretches the muscles of the lower leg.
Other biomechanical causes include:
Poor running mechanics;
- Tight, stiff muscles in the lower leg;
- Running with excessive forward lean;
- Running with excessive backwards lean;
- Landing on the balls of your foot; and
- Running with your toes pointed outwards.
A relative rest approach includes a change in your workout. What kind of workout should you do if you are in such pain? Something that is non-impact on the area of your shins. Water running, stationary bike, swimming, these are all good cardiovascular exercises for you to participate in. Strength Training different areas of your body will also keep you in top shape without sacrificing your injured area.
Another thing you must do when you have shin splints, is take care of the injured area. Rest, ice, anti-inflammation medication, stretching exercises and a possible change in your footwear are all ways to take care of your injury. Rest and ice will help lower the inflammation to the area. Your footwear may be the cause of the shin splints, so always make sure to go to a proper shoe fitter and make sure you are able to try out the shoes on a treadmill with the guarantee for a full refund if the shoe doesn't fit properly or feel right.
Changing your workout and taking care of the area are the two things you can do to help "heal" your shin splints and continue with your goal toward physical activity. :)
Always make sure to consult your physician before taking any medication or starting/continuing with a physical lifestyle.