Physical fitness is essential for every person, but athletes need to be extra careful. If they are not 100% fit, it will not be possible for them to give their best performance in the fields. Shin splints are one of those common injuries that happen to every athlete. A little prevention and care can save any athlete from shin splints, and he or she can get rid of them easily.
In this useful article, you’ll get to know one simple trick to get rid of your shin splints.
How to get rid of Shin Splints
- Target Your Calf
The first thing you’ll need to do is analyze and evaluate your calf. It may sound counterproductive, but first, you need to get rid of muscle tension in your calf, which is the cause of shin splints. You'll need to find the knots on your calf muscles and once you have found them, get rid of them.
To find the knots in your muscles, gently press the muscles and feel for hard lumps. After spotting these muscle knots, you’ll need to treat them. Let’s see how to get rid of muscle knots.
- Massage the Muscles with a Massage Foam Roller
You can use a massage foam roller to rub the muscles and get rid of these trigger points causing pain in your calf area. Work the area with a massage foam roller two times a day for three to four days.
- Do Some Stretching
Stretching goes a long way in getting rid of the muscle knots and shin splints. After massaging the calf muscles, the next course of action should be stretching. Most of the time, when you exercise too much, inflammation occurs in your muscles. To eradicate the inflammation, stretch your lower leg muscles. After warming up your muscles with a massage foam roller, hang off the edge of steps and stretch your muscles. This will help to elongate the muscles and eradicate the inflammation.
- Get Adequate Rest
Most times, shin splints go away right after some stretching and working the area with the massage. However, it can also take some time. You’ll need to make sure that you rest properly if you can still feel the injury. Stop performing high impact exercises and running. Give some rest to your muscles. This will relieve the inflammation. It will also get rid of your shin splints.
Traditional Approach to Getting Rid of Shin Splints
As you move into the rehabilitation process, you’ll need to adopt the traditional approach to get rid of your shin splints.
The traditional approach is called the RICE protocol. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate)
The rehabilitation process starts with proper rest. It often takes 2-3 days to get rid of normal shin splints. During the resting period, you’ll not do any high impact workout or running exercise. Similarly, ensure you drink lots of water during the rehabilitation period. While performing exercises, you lose lots of fluids through sweating. This can cause biomechanical inefficiencies. One way to replenish the lost fluids is by drinking lots of water. It can speed up the process of rehabilitation.
Ice is a great way to heal inflammation or swelling. Take water in a Dixie cup and freeze it in the freezer until it becomes ice. Now wrap the ice in a towel and massage the affected area. Don't place ice directly on your skin as it is not a recommended way to treat injuries; ensure you wrap the ice in a towel. Massage the area for 15-20 minutes and repeat the process 6-8 times a day until your shin splints subside.
To compress your shin splints, use calf/shin sleeves. Compression provides relief to the affected area by reducing the strain on muscles. Additionally, it helps to increase blood flow to the area, also reducing inflammation in the process. Apart from using the calf sleeves during the rehabilitation process, you should also wear them during routine workouts and training. Calf sleeves compress the muscles, thus decreasing the muscular vibration during workout and training. It will help to reduce body fatigue, eventually resulting in better performance.
One crucial part of the rehabilitation process is to elevate the affected area. In case of the shin splints, keep your legs elevated while resting at home. It’s not always possible to elevate the legs, but as long as you’re at home, keep your leg elevated. It will help to diminish the inflammation.
Elevation reduces the swelling by controlling the blood flow to the injured area.
Acute Injury Vs Chronic Shin Splint
Minor injuries and shin splints are a regular part of the athlete's life, but you can certainly prevent shin splints if you follow some simple prevention techniques.
Shin Splint Prevention Techniques
Following these simple prevention techniques, you can get rid of getting consistent shin splints.
- Maintain a normal range of motion
Most of the time, injuries occur because you overdo something and put extra strain on your muscles. Shin splints are often the result of overdoing exercises. So, make sure you maintain your muscle’s normal range of motion. For prevention of shin splints, maintain a normal range of motion in your calf muscles, hamstrings, and shin muscles. Only stretch these parts to an appropriate point and don't stretch beyond a certain limit. Stop stretching the moment you start feeling pain and discomfort in your muscles.
- Don’t wear worn-out shoes
If you're doing long-distance running, then your shoes are going to wear out soon. Just make sure you don’t keep using the rough shoes with bad padding on the inside or damaged archers. It can certainly push you closer to shin splints.
- Don’t overdo the training. Get proper nourishment.
If you’re constantly getting shin splints, then it is most probably because you’re overdoing the training and exercises. Don’t push your body beyond a certain limit. Learn about your body properly and know how much it can tolerate. If you keep getting shin splints, then it will certainly become a chronic shin splint. You don't want this, so train according to your body’s limits.
Bad nutrition can also result in injuries. You need to focus on your nutrition if you keep getting shin splints. You should rebuild your diet plan with the help of a professional and experienced nutritionist.
How Much Time Does it Take to Recover from Shin Splints?
If you’re having shin splints and wondering how long it will take to recover from it, then you must know that it depends on the level of your injury. If you have a normal shin splint, then with a proper rehabilitation and treatment process, you can start your regular training after 2-4 weeks. A severe shin splint can take up to months to heal completely.
Types Of Shin Splints And Their Causes
An acute shin splint can be a result of long-distance running. This can take a longer time to heal. If acute shin splints keep happening, then it can progress into a chronic shin splint.
Due to plyometric high impact exercises, a tweak can happen in your shin. It is not very severe, and dangerous and it only takes you a short time to recover.