Beat the shin splints

Bolton physio Andy Mitchell on how to prevent that lower-leg agony

So, where is it hurting then?

Pain and inflammation typically affects an area six inches above the ankle joint, on the inside of the shin bone. The area is tender when pressure is applied.

What’s the issue?

The calf muscles have become inflamed as a result of repeatedly pulling on the inside of the shin bone. This continual loading is what causes the area to become swollen and painful.

More after the break

Don’t worry, it isn’t going to kill you…

A rusty amateur player will pick up this injury when they suddenly take up a new fitness regime, whereas a semi-professional or full-time professional suffers from shin splits after putting serious mileage or training load through the body. For the amateur player, seven to 10 days of rest and the application of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) should treat the injury. If the injury occurs in the serious athlete, rest and RICE should be applied, as well as a change to their training loads in order to reduce the stress going through the inside of their shin bones.

Make sure it doesn’t happen again

Shin splits can be caused by a different variety of factors, such as tight or weak calf muscles, worn-out or inappropriate running shoes, too much training on hard surfaces, a sudden change in the training load or types of exercises you are doing. It often occurs in athletes with over-pronation – flat feet. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t happen is to address all the factors listed here.

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