Preventing + Treating Shin Splints

The condition of shin splints (also known as medial tibia stress syndrome) is a common, exercise-related issue resulting in pain along the inner edge of the tibia.

This issue most commonly occurs in runners, but can be associated with any physical activity. Shin splints develop after muscle and bone tissues are overworked. Changes in frequency and duration of exercise, as well as having flat feet or exercising with improper footwear can also lead to the syndrome.

There are several ways to treat shin splints.

  • First and foremost, it’s crucial to consult with your physician and follow your doctor’s instructions as every case is different.
  • Because the condition is most commonly caused by overuse, rest will help relieve the pain.
  • Reduce pain and swelling with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
  • Apply ice or cold packs for 20 minutes at a time to the affected area. However, do not apply ice directly to your skin.
  • Prevent additional swelling with compression. This can be easily accomplished by wearing an elastic compression bandage.
  • Supportive shoes with good cushioning decrease the pressure placed on your shins throughout the day.
  • Those who have flat feet may benefit from orthotics (shoe inserts that help align and stabilize your foot).

After experiencing shin splints, you will undoubtedly want to take action to prevent the condition from reoccurring. The following preventative actions can help reduce your risk for redeveloping shin splints.

  • Use proper footwear. Look for athletic shoes that match your foot structure. Visit a local running shop to get a specialist’s input.
  • Remember that any fitness regimen should be built gradually to avoid overuse.
  • Add some variety to your typical exercise programs with cross-training.

If your pain sustains, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from AAOS.

Tapering Before the Big Race

As the weather warms up and the calendar gets closer to spring, more runners are hitting the road to train for upcoming races. Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for the Germantown Half Marathon on March 12. Any successful training plan for an endurance race should conclude with a well-timed tapering period.

What exactly is tapering? The “taper” time period consists of the final weeks leading up to your big race when you significantly reduce your training mileage. This time period serves as your body’s recovery period before the big event. Although decreasing mileage, many runners will want to run with the same intensity to maintain endurance.

There’s science backing this. According to the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Science, athletes can experience up to 6% improvement in muscular strength, hormone levels, neuromuscular functions and psychological status after strategically tapering their exercise routine.

What’s the timeline? When training for a half marathon, most runners will plan to taper anywhere from 10 days to three weeks. During this time period, many will find a sense of increased energy. It’s important to conserve your energy as much as possible, and incorporating a cross-training routine into your schedule may help cure your runner’s withdrawals.

My race is in three days – what should I do? Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of sleep in the days leading up to the race. Rest and hydration are critical elements that will help you perform to your full potential on race day. If you begin the race at a fluid deficit, it’s nearly impossible to fuel enough during the run to get back up to a normal, healthy level – let alone replenish the large amount of fluids you’re likely losing during the exercise. Runners might also consider taking sodium or potassium supplements during their run to replenish the minerals and electrolytes that water cannot replace by itself. Always consult your physician before adding supplements to your diet, and never experiment with new foods or supplements on race day. Use your training runs to see what works best for you and what doesn’t.

You’ll pass the finish line before you know it!

For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from halfmarathons.net.