If you have ever experienced gruelling pain along the large front bone in your lower leg after running or just after work out, then you are quite familiar with shin splints. Shin splints after strength training are pretty commonplace.
Your doctor may also refer to the splints as medial tibial stress syndrome. It is caused by stressing your shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to your bones.
WHAT CAUSES SHIN SPLINTS?
Shin splints are an accumulative stress disorder. This is because it results from the repeated pounding and stress on your lower leg’s bones, muscles, and joints.
This will prevent your body from naturally being able to repair and restore itself.
This pain that you feel when having shin splints results from an excessive amount of stress on your shinbone and the tissues attaching your shin bone to the muscles surrounding it. This could be during your workout sessions.
Excessive force will cause your muscles to swell, increasing the pressure against your bone, causing pain and inflammation in turn.
Shin splints during strength training can also occur from stress reactions due to bone fractures. Constant pounding on your shin bone can cause small minute cracks, which may heal if given ample time.
However, if you do not give them enough time to heal, these cracks develop into complete stress fracture or a complete fracture.
OTHER CAUSES OF SHIN SPLINTS
Shin splints can also result from:
Flat feet: If you have flat feet, the impact from a step makes your foot arch collapse. Your doctor will refer to it as overpronation. This, in turn, will lead to too much pressure on your shin bone, leading to splints.
Shoes that don’t fit well will also reduce your chances of good support. This means that you will be putting more pressure on your legs to balance (which should not be the case. Balancing should be a smooth process)
Working out without warm-up or cooldown stretches could also lead to too much pressure on your shin bone.
Weak ankles, hips or core muscles can also lead to shin splints.
If you are active enough, you might have shin splints by abrupt changes like more and longer workout or making your workouts more frequent and intense.
ARE YOU AT RISKS OF GETTING SHIN SPLINTS?
Various activities and physical attributes are risk factors of shin splints. They include the following:
An anatomical abnormality like flat feet
Muscle weakness in the thighs, or buttocks, or if you are not flexible enough
Improper training techniques, running down uneven terrain and running on hard concrete surfaces. Also using worn out or inappropriate shoes during your workouts.
Shin splints are also likely to occur if your leg muscles and tendons are tired.
Women, people with flat feet or rigid arches, athletes, military recruits and dancers all are at higher risks of developing shin splints.
SYMPTOMS OF SHIN SPLINTS
If you develop shin splints, you will have the following symptoms:
You will have a dull ache in the front part of your lower leg.
You will have pain that develops specifically during your workout sessions.
Muscle pain and pain either inside your shin bone or along the inner part of your lower leg.
Swelling in the lower leg or numbness and weakness in your feet.
It is probably urgent to see a doctor when your shin splints do not respond to standard first aid treatment, or you have the following severe symptoms:
Severe pain in your shin after an accident or a fall. This can be characterized by your shin feeling hot.
If your shin is visibly swollen and you experience pain even when you are all calmed up and resting.
HOW CAN YOUR SHIN SPLINTS BE DIAGNOSED?
Your doctors can diagnose your shin splints from a physical examination. He or she will ask about the activities you have been engaging yourself in and the amount of time you use on them.
Additionally, when conditions seem worse, they can prescribe diagnostic tests like x-rays and imaging scans. They may also turn to this diagnostic method when they realize you might suffer from something other than shin splints.
CAN YOU GET SHIN SPLINTS FROM WORKING OUT?
Yes, you can. As mentioned earlier, shin splints occur from overuse activity or increase in strength training. Mostly, these are high-impact activities that cause repetitive exercise to the lower parts of your legs. This is why most runners, gymnasts and dancers are at a higher risk of developing shin splints.
CAN YOU STRENGTH TRAIN WITH SHIN SPLINTS?
However possible this might sound, it may be so uncomfortable for you to strength train with shin splints. Shin splints during strength training can be extremely painful. Your doctor may emphasize ample resting time to allow your shins to heal before hitting the gym again.
Also, shin splints during strength training may cause fractures in your bones. A repetition of this could lead to dire conditions, increasing the fractures and creating more damage.
DO SHIN SPLINTS MAKE YOU STRONGER?
Apparently yes. When you get shin splints during strength training, your shin bone gets an arch or slightly bends from the impact. Resting after your workout will enable this bone to rebuild to its position, only that this time, it will be stronger compared from before.
HOW TO DEAL WITH SHIN SPLINTS WHILE TRAINING
After being diagnosed with shin splints, your doctor may recommend that you stay away from the gym for a period leading to approximately two weeks.
However, if you have targets to hit and goals and you cannot completely stay out of training for this long, it is recommended that you can engage in less strenuous exercises such as light walking and swimming.
During these light exercises, you can do the following:
Try as much as possible to keep your legs elevated.
According to a piece published on Healthline, use of icepacks is really effective during swelling. So, you better shop for cold compress if you are affected.
An article on anti-inflammatory states that anti-inflammatory such as Advil may help in cases where your shin bone starts to swell
Consider elastic compression bandages as this could help reduce the pressure applied to the lower parts of your legs.
Use a foam roller to massage your shins. This will help to prevent the pain and will also relax the muscles around your shin bone.
10 ACTIONABLE WAYS TO AVOID SHIN SPLINTS DURING STRENGTH TRAINING
You can consider the following steps to avoid shin splints during strength training:
Wearing shoes that fit well to give you good support. This will reduce the amount of pressure on your legs during training.
Using shock-absorbing insoles to protect your legs from sudden impacts during activities like jumping.
Avoid training on hard surfaces, uneven terrains or slanted surfaces as these could increase the impact on your legs.
Go slow on increasing your exercise as this will enable your legs to adapt appropriately, reducing risks of sudden shin bone fractures.
Consider warming up before exercise to prepare your legs for the task ahead. This will prevent cases of shock during training.
Make sure you stretch properly during your training without putting more pressure on your legs.
Do more strength training especially toe exercises as these specifically comes in handy in exercising your calf muscles.
Avoid training for some time if you have slight shin pains. This could reduce the possibilities of fractures.
Vary your workouts to prevent overuse of your lower legs only. This will give them time to rest.
Consider visiting your doctor once you experience a slight pain in your shin.
Your doctors may suggest seeing a physical therapist in case your shin splints keep reoccurring. Physical therapists will correct your walking style or issues in your legs that may lead to the splints.
All in all, anytime you feel slight shin splints, take a rest and allow your muscles and bones to heal.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]