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6 Ways to Get Rid of Painful Shin Splints

6-ways-to-get-rid-of-painful-shin-splints
<article> <section> <p>Shin splints are a dreaded injury for runners, but they affect everyone from the occasional exerciser all the way up to the elite athlete. Causing pain and inflammation to your lower legs, shin splints can take you out of the race or just make everyday walking around challenging.</p> <p>Here we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about shin splints: what causes them, how to treat them, and our best advice to help you get back to your workout <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/greatest-morning-exercise-routine/" rel="noreferrer">routine </a>quickly and safely.</p> <p>But first...</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Are Shin Splints?</header> <p>Shin splints—also referred to as <i>medial tibial stress syndrome</i>—are an overuse injury <sup>1</sup>. They affect the tibia—the large bone of your lower leg—and the muscles around your shins. They’re caused by putting excessive and repeated force on the shin muscles, often from running or walking. That force creates swelling in the muscles around the tibia, causing you pain. </p> <p>Most cases of shin splints are the result of drastically increasing the volume or intensity of your workout. Running and jumping movements are usually the culprit. Exercise <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/27-beginner-bodyweight-exercises-that-get-results/" rel="noreferrer">beginners </a> are especially at risk as are those who don’t wear proper footwear during their workout or while walking—including high heels, flats, and worn-out training shoes. </p> <p>Symptoms of shin splints include:</p> <ul> <li>Dull, aching pain in the lower front part of the leg</li> <li>Shin pain that worsens during your workout</li> <li>Inflammation in the lower leg</li> <li>Tenderness or soreness in and around the shin bone</li> </ul> <p>Keeping up your workout routine with shin splints will likely aggravate the injury. But if you’ve got a big race or an important day ahead, you might be wondering…</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hand-with-stopwatch-in-it-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hand-with-stopwatch-in-it-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hand-with-stopwatch-in-it-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/hand-with-stopwatch-in-it-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="hand-with-stopwatch-in-it-0199"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How Do You Treat Shin Splints in 24 hours?</header> <p>The severity of your shin splints will determine how quickly you heal and what your course of treatment should be. Make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and advice for treatment. At home-care could include rest, ice, and ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling in the muscles. </p> <p>But shin splints generally can’t be cured in a day. In fact, getting back to your workout routine before you’re ready is likely to make the problem worse.</p> <p>The best thing you can do is rest your muscles and take care of yourself until the pain goes away. Make sure to check in with your doctor. Most recommend that you take at least two weeks off from physical activity to cure shin splints <sup>3</sup>. For severe cases, you may need up to six weeks to recover fully.</p> <p>You probably won’t have great luck trying to get over shin splints in a day. But for runners especially, time off can mean falling behind on your training goals.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/working-out-on-beach-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/working-out-on-beach-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/working-out-on-beach-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/working-out-on-beach-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="working-out-on-beach-0199"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Do You Have to Stop Running with Shin Splints? </header> <p>The short answer is: it’s up to you. Though not recommended, you may be able to work through a mild case quickly with the right amount of rest and a modified workout program. </p> <p>If you do want to keep running, there are a few adjustments you can make to help the pain and reduce your chances of making the shin splints worse.</p> <ul> <li>Always increase mileage and workout intensity slowly. </li> <li>Reduce your training drastically during injury. Consider <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/10-reasons-why-walking-is-the-best-exercise/" rel="noreferrer">walking </a>walking or jogging instead.</li> <li>Avoid running on hard surfaces.</li> <li>Shorten your stride.</li> <li>Get two pairs of shoes and alternate between them.</li> <li>Stay away from steep up- and downhills.</li> </ul> <p>But running with shin splints can do more than just aggravate the injury. You can actually cause a stress fracture to the tibia by failing to treat shin splints. That means that running through shin splints may lead to a longer and more difficult recovery down the road.</p> <p>In case it isn’t clear yet, you need to take steps to help alleviate, heal, and prevent shin splints or you might just keep re-injuring yourself. So…</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bandage-on-shins-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bandage-on-shins-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bandage-on-shins-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/bandage-on-shins-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="bandage-on-shins-0199"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Helps Shin Splints Go Away?</header> <p>The best treatment for shin splints is prevention. But if you’re already shins deep in a case of medial tibial stress syndrome, there are plenty of steps you can take to help speed up recovery and prevent future injuries.</p> <p>Here are our six best recommendations to help your shin splints go away:</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/self-care-shins-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/self-care-shins-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/self-care-shins-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/self-care-shins-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="self-care-shins-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 1: Rest and recover.</b></i> Your body needs time to heal itself. Follow a self-care routine of ice, rest, ibuprofen, and stretching until you’re fully recovered before getting back to exercise. Recovery can take two to six weeks.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nike-tennis-shoes-sement-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nike-tennis-shoes-sement-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nike-tennis-shoes-sement-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/nike-tennis-shoes-sement-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="nike-tennis-shoes-sement-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 2: Wear the right shoes. </b></i>The wrong pair of trainers or daily-wear shoes might be causing your shin splints. Experts recommend replacing your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles—around six months for the casual runner <sup>4</sup>. Learn more about your running stride and foot position to find the sneakers that are best for you.</p> <p>You should find a comfortable pair of shoes to wear while walking or standing during the day, too.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/soccer-player-stretching-leg-sitting-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/soccer-player-stretching-leg-sitting-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/soccer-player-stretching-leg-sitting-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/soccer-player-stretching-leg-sitting-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="soccer-player-stretching-leg-sitting-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 3: Do <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/stretching-when-is-the-best-time/" rel="noreferrer">stretches </a>daily. </b></i>Tightness in the muscles and tendons of the legs can cause and worsen shin splints. Stretching can reverse these effects. </p> <p><i>Dorsiflexion</i> and <i>plantar flexion</i>. In layman’s terms, these are the names for bringing your toes towards your shins and pointing your toes, respectively. Sit on the floor and pull your feet towards you. Hold for ten seconds. Do the same with pointed toes. Heel-walking and toe-walking are also effective for stretching these muscles.</p> <p><i>Wall stretches.</i> Put your hands on a wall in front of you. Step your right leg back. Keep the knee straight and your heel completely on the floor. Place the left leg in front with knee bent. Lean forward until you feel a stretch. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/legs-running-on-track-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/legs-running-on-track-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/legs-running-on-track-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/legs-running-on-track-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="legs-running-on-track-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 4: Exercise to strengthen the muscles around the shins.</b></i> Shins splints can result from muscle imbalances in the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/6-bodyweight-leg-workout-progressions-you-can/" rel="noreferrer">legs</a> and even the core, so exercise to improve full-body strength is ideal. Do these moves to improve strength or as a warm-up to prevent shin splints.</p> <p><i>Toe taps.</i> Stand in front of a step or curb. Tap your right foot on the stair. Jump slightly to bring your right foot to the floor as you switch to tap your left foot on the stair. Do 20 taps per foot.</p> <p><i>Calf lowers and raises.</i> Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a stair or curb. Shift your weight to your right foot and lower your heel down until your feel a stretch. Use both feet to return to the starting position. Do ten slow repetitions with each foot, feeling the calf muscles activate. To do calf raises, come all the way up on your toes then slowly lower as far as you can. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/foam-rolling-outside-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/foam-rolling-outside-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/foam-rolling-outside-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/foam-rolling-outside-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="foam-rolling-outside-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 5: Use a foam roller.</b></i> Rolling loosens tight muscles and stimulates blood flow to the area. Come onto all fours and put the roller under your knees. Keeping most of your weight on the roller, roll them muscles from your shins to your ankles and back. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-swimming-in-lane-0199.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-swimming-in-lane-0199.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/woman-swimming-in-lane-0199.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-swimming-in-lane-LR-0199.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-swimming-in-lane-0199"> </picture> <p><i><b># 6: Try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-low-impact-cardio-exercise-for-weight-loss/" rel="noreferrer">low-impact</a> exercise.</b></i> Swimming and cycling are both great choices to keep you in shape without hurting your shins. Plus, a case of shin splints doesn’t have to stop you from training your upper body!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Bottom Line </header> <p>Many of us will experience shin splints at some point in our lives, but the treatment tips we’ve offered here are the key to getting through them safely—and preventing them in the first place! If you suffer from shin splints, the best thing you can do is rest and recover. Prevent shin splints by wearing the right shoes, being smart about training, and doing exercises and stretches to keep them at bay.</p> <p>When you’re ready to get back at it—or if you’re looking for alternatives while you heal—check out our Fitness page for inspiration!</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/health/shin-splints#causes" rel="noreferrer">What causes shin splints?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/shin-splints" rel="noreferrer">What Are Shin Splints?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000654.htm" rel="noreferrer">Shin splints - self-care</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a20806543/running-shoe-questions/" rel="noreferrer">Running Shoe FAQ</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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