Shin Splints | Treatment | Simple steps to a successful recovery
As reported in our first instalment Shin Splints | What Is It? we know that up to 15% of all running-related injuries are due to Shin Splints.
Diagnosing Shin Splints is the easy part. The key question is ‘how do we treat it?’. Shin Splints treatment should follow these simple steps in order for a successful recovery as part of a gold standard, evidence based approach.
Rest and stretching will not cure shin splints… neither will focusing on the shin alone.
SHIN SPLINTS TREATMENT
Step 1 : RUN LAB
Working out not just ‘what’…but ‘why?’
In order to truly cure a problem we need to solve why that problem occurred in the first place. Get to the root cause of why? As most running injuries gradually accumulate over time.
Our previous RUNNERS HUB blogs highlighted the 3 key elements that make up an injury-free, skilled runner. These aren’t complicated or too technical. Just simple golden points for runners to follow. Our RUN LAB package is specifically aimed at beginner & recreational runners and helps to guide you back throughout your Shin Splints treatment.
Research has proven that technique faults such as a slow step rate or poor hip control can contribute to overloading of the lower limb thus increasing the risk for common running injuries such as Shin Splints. As a result, it is key that your Shin Splints treatment looks at your running form, your condition, and your weekly regime to pick out the weak links.
Check out our patient’s experience of RUN LAB here
Step 2: Reset & Relieve
It is the increased pulling on the lining of the shin bone that creates the stiff, achy feeling associated with Shin Splints. Therefore it is essential that part of your treatment involves hands-on therapy to help reduce these symptoms initially. Get you moving well, with less pain.
Acupuncture can be a great pain reliever for Shin Splints symptoms
Kinesiology taping can be very useful in taking pressure off the Shin & calf short term
Step 3: Stabilise & Strengthen
This step is the key to getting you back running…and staying injury free. Rest alone will not cure Shin Splints as you’re changing nothing about what potentially caused the problem in the first place. Most research on why Shin Splints occurs has shown that poor control in areas away from the Shin itself are very common. Improving stability is key as poor strength in the lateral hip muscles and poor control with single leg balance exercises can increase the risk of developing Shin Splints. Plus increasing strength in any weak deep calf muscles.
As a result a big part of your treatment must include strength & stability exercises
Step 4: Build back up…gradually!
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Runners, being runners, just want to run. As we know Shin Splints typically accumulate over months and therefore can take months to recover. However, completely resting and then returning to running will not solve the problem for most runners. In most cases you don’t have to stop running completely…but be guided as to how much to do and when.
Research shows us that it is essential your return to running is progressively tailored to you in order to allow a successful return without flaring things up. As part of your Shin Splints treatment there are simple, functional tests that we can use to establish if you’re safe to start running again without causing further problems. We will also workout your running threshold i.e. the amount you can do comfortably without causing pain, then gradually increase this dependent upon time, distance, speed, terrain or just personal goals you want to achieve.
Functional screening to see if you’re ready to return to running
Our next blog looks at the top 5 exercises for Shin Splints treatment
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