Conquering Shin Splints: 5 Effective Strategies to Mastering Your Management

Shin splints, a common condition among athletes and active individuals, refer to pain along the shin bone (tibia) that runs down the front of the lower leg. They usually occur due to repetitive stress on the shinbone and the tissues that connect the muscles to the bone becoming inflamed. Factors such as increasing the intensity of your workouts too quickly, improper footwear, or running on hard surfaces can aggravate shin splints.

We understand the discomfort and frustration that shin splints can cause, and we're here to help. With our combined 30 years of experience in Physiotherapy and Podiatry, we have guided hundreds of shin splint sufferers back to full health and peak performance.

Here are five crucial tips we recommend for managing shin splints:

1. Offload and Unload:
The first step in managing shin splints is to stop the aggravating activity and rest. This could mean using crutches to offload weight from the affected leg, which allows the tissues to heal without additional strain. This can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, so maybe buy a pair rather than renting them out. 

2. Imaging and Bracing:
If you're experiencing severe tenderness on the shin bone or pain in the morning, it may be beneficial to get a scan and grading of your shin splints. More severe cases might require the use of a moon boot for an appropriate periods lasting up to 3 months. For less severe cases, bracing options such as The Severs Sleeve could provide effective support and help manage symptoms for a speedier recovery.

3. Gradual Reloading:
Once the pain has significantly reduced to a level of 2-3/10 pain in the morning and walking short distances, you can start with gentle reloading activities. Begin with 7-minute walks three times a day, gradually increasing by 3-5 minutes each week as your tolerance allows.There is no rush. This process will be about 6 weeks in the making.

4. RICE Protocol:
RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. As shin splints are an inflammatory condition, following the RICE protocol can greatly aid recovery. Rest allows the affected tissues to heal, Ice reduces inflammation and swelling, Compression can help keep swelling down, and Elevation helps to reduce blood flow to the area, which can decrease inflammation and pain.

5. Stretch and then Massage and then Stretch some more:
The muscles behind the shin are often culpable in the development of shin splints. So having long massages or stretching sessions to get these areas under control are vital to long term increase chance of healing and success. 30 minute targeted massages' or 3 lots of 90 second calf stretching a day will go a long way.

By diligently following these 5 tips, you're taking the first steps towards healing and recovery. Remember, consistency is key in managing shin splints. But bear in mind that it is a tricky one to recover from so, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's crucial to seek professional help. A physiotherapist or podiatrist can assess your condition and provide a personalized recovery plan. They can also offer advice on appropriate exercises and methods to prevent future shin splints.

The Severs Sleeve
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