Shin splints can come from a variety of causes, and the condition is excruciating for the sufferer. To get an idea of the scope of the problem, understand that it is not just a condition that people who engage in physical training get. Shin splints come from several different conditions that people experience, and poorly fitting footwear is a common cause.
Let’s start with the athletically inclined. Training, like running or weight lifting or general exercise, can be a cause of shin splints. Overexertion of the leg muscles, tendons, or overloading the shin itself is the cause of the condition. The condition comes from repetitive exercises that have a significant impact on the activities that a person is engaged. It is a common problem for runners, gymnasts, and dancers based on training regimens associated with activities involved in specific sports.
Other causes come in the form of uphill running, increasing your daily training activities, more intense workouts, or activities that involve a lot of stops and starts – dancing basketball or military training come to mind here.
Risks and hazards for shin splints
Everyone is at risk if they don’t take proper care of their bodies.
- Flat feet are a common cause of shin splints. You don’t have the support for your feet to maintain balance, and it causes problems. Mainly because you aren’t wearing shoes to help support your fallen arches. Rigid arches are another problem. Without a flexible arch, foot pain will shoot up your leg through your shin.
- Your work can be your nemesis. Your feet weren’t designed to be on a hard surface all day every day without some relief. Running on rock hard surfaces like a playground, road, basketball, or tennis court can be a significant pain in the leg.
- As mentioned before, your choice of footwear – those four-inch heels might look good with that outfit, but they are Hell on your feet and legs. Shin splints come to light as the byproduct of poor choices in shoes.
- Knowing when to replace your running shoes is vital to prevent shin splints. Running shoe manufacturers tell us that running shoes lose their shock-absorbing capability after 400 kilometres of wear. Promptly replacing your jogging or running shoes every three months – depending on use – is the best practice activity to prevent the painful scourge.
A dull or sharp ache in the front of your shin will tell you trouble is right around the corner. Pain when you push on your legs to stand or other activities. Pain increases during and after workouts, and a reduction in pain with rest. Of note, you can experience pain when sitting or relaxing if the problem is acute.
What to do when you have shin splints
First things first, see your family physician for a determination of how bad the problem is and what can be done to prevent it from getting worse. Certainly, rest and reduced physical activity is a potent preventative measure for the athlete. But, for the worker, who stands on a rock hard floor daily, you need more support. Arch supports are an excellent remedy for someone who stands all day. A consultation with your Doctor can be enlightening, as is a meeting with a physical therapist. They can provide advice about what type of shoes work best for your condition and recommend shock-absorbing insoles or orthotic inserts for your shoes.
How to temper the problem of shin splints
Depending on whether the shin splint problem is biomechanical or caused by exertion, there is relief. One thing to understand, though, orthotics and inserted insoles are two different things that work for two distinctly different problems.
- The physically active among us can find relief from shin splints with a two-pronged approach. First, a reduction in physical activity in duration and degree of difficulty of your workout helps. Getting off one’s feet for a short period to allow the inflamed areas to heal is another way to spur the recovery period. Also, shock-absorbing insoles will temper the problems that cause shin splints. The constant pounding on the feet is where shin splints start, and a reduction in the shock will stop the pain from shin splints.
- For those suffering from biomechanical foot problems, there are three types of orthotics to help with the pain of shin splints. Custom-made orthotics (or rigid orthotics) is prescribed for people with problems that come from over-pronation. You will need a prescription from a podiatrist to obtain custom made orthotics, and they are created for unique issues specific to the individual.
- Another orthotic product that provides relief is the heat-moulded orthotic. It is slightly less rigid than a custom made orthotic and is a standard ‘off-the-shelf solution’ for mild afflictions. In the fitting process, heat is applied to get the fit correct, and wedges can be added to increase the level of comfort the wearer needs.
- Pre-made orthotics offers relief for the old and young among us. The orthotics are a soft material that will conform to your foot’s contours, and in relatively short order, the orthotic will fit like a glove for your foot. Body heat and weight create the right fit for the wearer. Your podiatrist will be able to recommend the right orthotic for your condition.
When you don’t know where to turn for relief of shin splints, know that Alla and her team at Care-Med are ready to help with the insole or orthotic you need to get you back on your feet. The team at Care-Med has many years working with people with foot challenges, and they provide solutions that dovetail with a physician’s recommendations. If you need a sleeve for the runner’s shin splint, Care-Med has a variety of sleeves to help with the support of the shin and calf.
Care-Med will honour most if not all insurance policies and find a solution that will meet your needs. To learn more about our facility, visit our website at Care-Med for more information about shin splints and solutions. If you have questions about the condition, please email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about shin splints. If you have a physician’s referral for orthotics, call our office today to book an appointment at 416.782.5353.