Uh-Oh...A Guide To What To Expect When Your Love Of Running Has Been Compromised By Your Shin Splints

Although running is a vital component of many exercise plans and can provide a variety of health benefits, it is also a leading cause of shin splints and the pain that goes with them. While it could be tempting to hang up your running shoes until the pain subsidizes, doing so exclusively is not always the best way to address the problem and it could easily return soon after you start running again. Therefore, it is a good idea to consult with your podiatrist to establish what your options are for treating this uncomfortable issue and preventing its return.

Understanding And Treating Shin Splints

It will first be important to understand that shin splints typically occur as the result of overuse, but can manifest after a single session in some cases. It is characterized by discomfort or pain around the back or front of the shin and can be experienced in the muscles and tendons of one or both legs. If left untreated, the pain will usually get worse over time and eventually could limit your ability to walk without discomfort or even running very often in the future. Shin splints are also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome,or MTSS, and in some instances can result in intermittent pain of and near the joints.  

In order to create a care plan and prevent the recurrence of your shin splints, you will need to evaluate where you run and what you can do to improve the situation. For instance, if your running shoes do not offer the appropriate support, shin splints are more likely, so it could be time to upgrade your shoes. In addition, running on concrete can put a lot of stress on the joints and tendons in your legs, so it is a good time to change your running area to one with grass or similar support. 

Common Treatment Options

If you have bought new shoes and are now running on a track or a similarly padded area, but your pain persists or has worsened, your podiatrist will probably suggest other treatment choices. X-rays are frequently needed to rule out other reasons for your pain, like stress fractures or a malformation of a bone or joint in the foot.

Common examples include the prescribed use orthotics for your running shoes in order to change the angle that your ankles or feet maintain during your exercise. In addition to the standard suggestions associated with any injury like resting and icing the affected area for a specific amount of time, you should expect to build back up to your previous running patterns slowly. Your foot doctor may also ask you to display the position and gait you normally use while running in order to determine if you are running in a safe and appropriate manner. If they are problematic, you might need to learn and practice new ways to move and run to prevent the problem in the future.    

In conclusion, shin splints are a painful and common problem for many runners. As a result, it will be helpful to speak with your foot doctor at your earliest convenience to determine the most appropriate way to treat your shin splints and to create a care plan that will prevent them from returning.