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skin_like_glue's avatar

Advice for Shin Splints?

Asked by skin_like_glue (3points) October 11th, 2010

I’ve had shin splints on and off for a few years and they are a real pain when I play soccer. I used to have a muller brace/wrap that worked decently, but my CrossFit trainer just told me about tapping my toes while watching tv (etc). His theory is on prevention and building up the muscles. Anyways, I want to hear your take on it and what ever advice you can dredge up on the topic!

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4 Answers

genkan's avatar

My understanding from med school is that shin splints are caused by repetitive microtrauma of one of the muscles in your leg that’s involved in flexing your foot upwards. This is caused by overexertion of the muscles, especially if you don’t warm up and cool down sufficiently. The overexertion causes your muscles to swell from the overuse, and since the leg has tight compartments, the swelling causes blood flow to your muscles to be reduced, causing pain. I’m not sure how the brace helps, but maybe your trainer is on the right track when he or she recommended that you use these muscles more, to get them used to that level of usage.

wenn's avatar

I ran track for 6 years and had bad bad shin splints for the first 3 years.

I no longer get them (23 now), what worked for me is a combination of icing, stretching the shin muscles and strengthening them through running and lifting.

the stretch:

basically you sit on your heels, keep your legs together and your feet straight and sit down, and lean back when you loosen the muscles enough

picture of the stretch

but you should know shin splint dont go away over night, its gonna take time. But im confident if you ice, exercise and stretch your shins they will get better over time. Eventually no more shin splints.

tranquilsea's avatar

I developed shin splints when I was 18. I had a very active childhood and adolescence. The pain from shin splints caused me to stop running.

Now many years later I am running again. I had hoped that enough time had passed and my shins would be fine but sadly it didn’t work out that way even with 13 years of yoga on my side. I have recently been tentatively diagnosed with compartment syndrome. I have more tests in the coming weeks to firm up that diagnosis. The only way to cure compartment syndrome is surgery to cut the muscle sheath. I’m not happy about that but I really need this operation so I can run beyond 5 minutes without crippling pain.

You should find out whether you are suffering from tiny stress fractures or whether it is compartment syndrome as the two have different treatments.

josie's avatar

Check on the basics first. Good quality, properly fitting shoes. Plenty of warm up, stretching before exercise, and plenty of cool down stretching after.

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