Shin splints is a condition that plagues athletes, especially runners. It is an overuse sports injury that causes a lot of foot and ankle pain. It can be very frustrating because the discomfort is too much to bear for strenuous physical activity, but many people think they can just push through their pain. This only makes things worse. Instead, get the help you need so you can heal quickly and get back to your sport.

What Are Shin Splints?

This common condition affects athletic people more often than not, but it can happen to anyone who is on their feet a lot. The pain, focused on the inner edge of the shinbone, is usually worse after physical activity. This can be a result of increasing the intensity of your workout too quickly or because you’ve started a new exercise program. You may also find yourself a victim of this condition if you have flat feet or wear shoes that are worn out.

Some symptoms to look for are mild swelling in the shin area, sharp pain, throbbing, discomfort during and after exercise, and sensitivity when the area is touched. Treating shin splints is usually easy, but it is even more important to prevent this condition from occurring in the first place.

How to Prevent Their Occurrence

Athletes need to make sure they’re wearing shoes that fit properly. You should also know that you will need to get them replaced every so often. Shoes will lose their cushioning and padding after a while and, once this happens, they are no longer serving their purpose. You can even get shoe inserts or orthotics put in your footwear so that you have the extra support where you need it.

Another important thing to consider is gradually building up your exercise routine. Do not go from a low intensity to a high intensity in one day, but instead work up to it. Also, never run without first warming up your muscles. You might also think about cross training so that your feet are not constantly under tremendous strain. You can do this by swimming or bicycling.

Treating Ankle Pain

If you do find yourself with the dreaded shin splints, treatment is a must. Do not assume that you can push through the pain because you will just make things worse. You will first want to try the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Simply taking the time to rest your body for a few days can make all the difference. You can also switch up your footwear or add an orthotic if you find that yours is lacking in cushion and support. There are different leg stretches that you can do to not only build up strength in that area, but also to help ease some of your pain. It’s important not to rush back into exercise. Move gradually back into your routine, and if you feel pain start at the beginning with rest. Only in very severe cases where a fracture has occurred will you need to undergo surgery.

Getting a Podiatrist’s Help

For more information on treating shin splints, call Mark Gasparini, D.P.M., at (516) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment in our Massapequa, NY, office.