When you first experience shin splints, it feels as if you may never be able to run again. And, when the pain just seems to worsen with each run, it’s easy to get discouraged. But, take heart – you can recover stronger and better than ever. Being pain-free is a reality. Let’s take a look at what you can do to return to full strength.
Right away, it’s important that you stop the activity that is causing the inflammation. Trying to work through shin splints without adjusting your training schedule is a mistake.
Check your shoes, and think about the surfaces you are training on. If your shoes are worn, or the surfaces your practice on are inelastic, the strain can accumulate in your shins eventually creating problems.
Icing is a common recovery method. Ice for 10-15 minutes, but not longer. Icing can decrease circulation, which in turn limits the inflammation that causes the pain. Icing for too long can damage the skin on your lower leg. Also, because icing slows circulation, it can have a detrimental effect on recovery. Circulation is ultimately necessary for healing.
Some additional sports injury recovery options are outlined here more thoroughly. In order to heal properly, your shins need the following:
- Reduction in swelling. Whether you see it or not, internal and external swelling is the root of your pain and needs to be alleviated.
- Remove the toxins. Eliminating toxins is essential for a full recovery.
- Proper circulation. Circulation is what will accomplish the above two critical healing tasks.
Once the pain has subsided, begin lightly stretching your leg muscles and slowly returning to activity. Be aware of the surfaces you exercise on, your shoes, and your mechanics. Take note of anything that is jarring, and try to adjust to make things less shocking. Sometimes as part of your recovery, low impact methods such as swimming, riding a stationary bike, or other strengthening techniques can be an effective way to continue your development while your shins heal.