Exercise and athletic activity is great for your health, but can also cause strain on your body if done incorrectly. Shin splints are common with those who do repetitive stop-start movements and strenuous physical activities, such as running or dancing.
Shin splints occur when you increase or change your exercise routine which can cause overworked muscles and tendons. The name “shin splints” refers to having pain along the shin bone or also known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome.
Common symptoms of shin splints are:
- Pain in the front or inner part of the lower leg, above the ankle
- Muscle pain that develops during exercise but stops with the end of your workout
- Mild swelling of the lower legs
Preventative measures for shin splints
- Proper shoe fit with adequate cushioning
- Appropriate warm up and stretching prior to activity
- Running on surfaces that absorb shock such as grass, if able
- Give your body proper amount of rest and recovery time
- Maintain appropriate conditioning that includes leg and ankle flexibility, strength and endurance
Calf raise: Begin in a standing position, holding onto a chair or wall for support, with both feet on the ground. Raise up onto your toes, then slowly lower your heel to the floor. Repeat this motion 10 times.
Calf stretch: Stand an arm’s length from the wall. Place the leg with the calf muscle to be stretched behind you. Lean toward the wall, leading with your waist and allowing your arms to bend. Do this exercise with your knee straight, then bend it slightly. Keep your heel on the floor at all times. Hold for 20 seconds each time.
Ankle strengthening: With a resistance band wrapped around a sturdy object, such as a bed or table leg, place the band over your foot. With slight tension on the band, pull your foot back towards you. Repeat the exercise moving the ankle in and out as well. Be sure to move just the ankle and foot and not rotate the leg. Repeat each movement 10 times.
If these exercises do not help, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist for further treatment options.