How to Prevent Shin Splints?

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How to Prevent Shin Splints?

 Shin splints are a common injury in runners and people on their feet often. It is caused by stress on your shin bone and the tissues that attach your muscles to your bones. You may hear doctors refer to it as medial tibial stress syndrome. This issue can result simply from overuse. Or, If you have flat feet, wear shoes that do not provide good support or workout without warming up properly. A person suffering from shin splints will feel acute pain and throbbing in their shin. The pain can be unbearable, forcing people to take long periods of rest to allow the damage and inflammation to heal. In severe cases, if the pain is left untreated, it can even lead to stress fractures of the tibia.  


Thankfully there are ways to help prevent shin splints. To begin, warming up your limbs and adequately stretching your hamstrings and calves before physical activity is essential. While performing physical activity, you should also avoid sudden increases in intensity. Instead, one should gradually increase the intensity and duration of activities. You can also use specific workouts and stretches to help strengthen your foot, which is very beneficial. It is also recommended to avoid running or working out on hard surfaces when possible. This is because exercising on hard surfaces like concrete increases stress on your muscles and bones. You should also up your calcium and vitamin D intake. Lastly, it is essential to stop physical activity as soon as you feel pain. If you take the proper steps, you can significantly lower your chance of injury. 


Shin splints often heal on their own without the help of a doctor through rest and self-treatment. Icing the shin to ease pain and swelling for twenty to thirty minutes every three to four hours can be highly effective. Doctors recommend adding insoles to your shoes that support the foot’s arch and taking over-the-counter pain medications. You may need to see the doctor if the pain lingers after three to four days of rest and icing, if the shin area is swollen or shows bruising after exercise, or if you feel a dull pain recurring with activity. A doctor will complete a thorough examination to ensure no stress fracture or other injuries are present. They may call for an X-ray, MRI, or bone scan. There is no way to know precisely how long it will take for your shin splints to go away, but you will know they are healed when you can walk, run, and jump pain-free again. 

Featured Clinician: Anthony Maritato, PT 

FEATURED CLINICIAN: Anthony Maritato, PT Anthony Maritato, PT, MSPT, is a licensed physical therapist and co-founder of Total Therapy Solutions, a private practice outpatient physical therapy business that focuses on

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