First of all, if you are experiencing shin splints on a regular basis, you should consider consulting your primary health care provider for treatment. Whenever your body experiences pain, this is a warning sign that something may be wrong. It should not be ignored. But if your shin splints only occur very rarely, there are some simple home remedies available for you so that you can get rid of shin splints quickly.
Shin splints is a relatively common painful condition and we see patients with this injury at Mt Wellington Physiotherapy on a regular basis.
Use ice on the affected area
Shin splints can occur from a variety of very simple actions, including dancing, marching, jumping, and most commonly running or jogging. The extra force that is applied to the heel of the foot often results in a type of medial tibial (shin bone) muscle stress which leads to painful shin splints. A major contributing factor is often “flat foot” syndrome which causes these muscles to inflame due to increased tension placed on these muscles. A common treatment is the application of ice or cold packs to the affected area which can help to reduce the inflammation which is causing most of the pain. It is also recommended that you should curb the activity that created the shin splints for some time until the healing process has completely taken place.
Topical creams and anti-inflammatories
Choosing an over-the-counter ointment may be a successful temporary remedy for shin splints. There are claims that topical creams that contain menthol will help to increase blood flow to the affected area, also acting as a type of natural anesthetic treatment in the process. At our Mt Wellington physiotherapy clinic we use shin muscle massage for treatment of shin splints with very good outcomes.
There are some simple techniques that can help prevent this uncomfortable yet common condition. For those who want to learn how to get rid of shin splints once and for all, consider taking the following actions prior to your jogging or running routine.
• Warm up in advance before participating in a stressful physical activity. Do some stretching exercises first, or perhaps start out with a slow jog or brisk walk before piling on the pressure at full force.
• Proper footwear is essential. Running shoes that are perhaps too worn-out is a very common reason why runners acquire shin splints in the first place. The best treatment and prevention plan might simply be to purchase a higher quality shoe with extra cushion and shock absorption characteristics. Also make sure to replace your shoes on a regular basis.
• If you suspect you may have flat feet – don’t panic – a very high percentage of people have some degree of excessive pronation or flat-footedness. However, if you intend on doing some running or play sport that involves running make sure that you go to a specialized sports footwear store where a trained professional (at times you might even be lucky enough to see a podiatrist there) will assist you with picking a pair of shoes that will help you to address your flat-footedness.
• Don’t overdo it, especially if you are new to the activity. This is especially the case if you’re just starting a running training programme. Build up your tolerance, endurance and speed gradually over a period of time, and ensure that you cool down afterwards with some additional stretches or slow jogging. Remember, your body needs time to adjust to the new activity. Don’t surprise it with sudden huge amounts of stress that it is not used to.
Just an important word of caution: if your shin pain has been around for a while and doesn’t seem to be improving, or when you start to notice pain as soon as you start your walk or run (not later on during your run) there is a chance you may have a stress fracture. This is certainly less common then your usual inflammatory shin splints, however this is a very serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. So if you suspect that your shin pain behaves this way please see your physiotherapist or doctor as soon as possible.
The best advice for how to get rid of shin splints is to prevent them from happening in the first place by following the above advice. However, a simple ice pack treatment, some topical creams, or massage can help to provide some temporary relief. At Mt Wellington Physiotherapy we treat this common sports injury and welcome you to see us if you need help with making it go away. Call us on 09-5328942 to get a FREE no-obligation assessment.