Shin Splints: When Your Legs Rebel Against You

Are you ready to learn about one of the most painful injuries known to man (or woman)?

I’m talking about shin splints. But don’t worry, I’ll make this educational journey as bearable as possible with my charming humour.

So, what exactly are shin splints?

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is an overuse injury that occurs when the muscles, tendons, and bones in the front of the lower leg become irritated and inflamed. This pain is typically felt along the inner edge of the shinbone, or tibia. Ouch.

Now, you may be thinking, “But Nick,  I’m not a runner, so I couldn’t possibly get shin splints.” Wrong. Shin splints can happen to anyone who engages in repetitive, high-impact activities such as running, dancing, or even walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 35% of athletes will experience shin splints at some point in their lives. So, whether you’re a marathon runner or just a casual walker through your local shopping centre, you’re at risk.

So, what can you do to prevent and treat those pesky shin splints?

First and foremost, proper stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent the injury. Additionally, switching up your workout routine, wearing proper shoes, and avoiding hard surfaces can also help.

But let’s say you’re already dealing with shin splints. What now? Rest and ice are your friends. Give your legs a break, and apply ice to the affected area for 20-30 minutes at a time, several times a day. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help alleviate the pain.

Physical therapy should be your first stop to help rehabilitate the injury. A physical therapist such as a physiotherapist or chiropractor can teach you exercises to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. They can also provide you with a customised treatment plan to help you recover as quickly as possible.

So, what’s the prognosis for shin splints?

With proper treatment, most people will recover within 4-6 weeks. However, if the injury is not properly treated, it can lead to chronic pain and even stress fractures. So, don’t neglect those shin splints!

In conclusion, shin splints may be a pain in the shins (literally), but with proper prevention and treatment, you can get back to your regular activities in no time. And remember, if all else fails, you can always just switch to a hobby that involves sitting down, like knitting or bird watching… Yeah exactly no one wants that, so go get it sorted !

Written by Nick Dimakis (Chiropractor)