Shin splints can be a frustrating and painful condition, and whether you’re an avid runner, a sports enthusiast, or just looking to enjoy a brisk walk, shin splints can put a damper on your routine.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what exactly shin splints are, how to get rid of them, and most importantly, how to prevent them in the first place!
What Are Shin Splints?
Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, are a common overuse injury that occurs along the shinbone (tibia). They typically result from excessive and repetitive stress on the muscles surrounding the shinbone, leading to inflammation and discomfort.
Shin splints are often characterized by pain, tenderness, and sometimes swelling along the inner edge of the shin.
This condition is particularly prevalent in athletes who engage in activities that involve running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction.
How To Get Rid Of Shin Splints?
When shin splints strike, finding relief becomes a top priority. One effective and non-invasive method that may alleviate shin splint pain is the use of TENS and EMS therapy.
TENS involves the application of low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes placed on the skin. These electrical impulses may help to reduce pain perception by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. On the other hand, EMS involves the use of electrical impulses to stimulate muscle contractions, which may aid in muscle recovery and reduce inflammation.
Using TENS and EMS therapy for shin splints is relatively simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need a TENS or EMS device, electrode pads, and any necessary cables or connectors.
Clean and Prepare the Skin: Before applying the electrode pads, make sure the skin on your shins is clean and dry. This ensures optimal conductivity and comfort during the session.
Apply Electrode Pads: Place the electrode pads on the affected area of your shins. You may need to adjust the placement to find the most comfortable and effective position.
Adjust Settings: Turn on the TENS or EMS device and adjust the settings according to your comfort level and the recommended guidelines provided with the device. Start with a low intensity and gradually increase as needed.
Begin Therapy: Let the device run for the recommended duration, usually around 20-30 minutes. During this time, you may feel tingling or gentle muscle contractions, which is completely normal.
Relax and Monitor: Sit back, relax, and allow the therapy to work its magic. You can use this time to unwind, read, or listen to music!
Post-Therapy Care: Once the session is complete, turn off the device and carefully remove the electrode pads. Gently clean the area and store the device and accessories properly for future use.
Both TENS and EMS therapy equipment can be easily purchased and are often sold in runners bundles and other specialized packages.
It’s important to note that while TENS and EMS therapy may provide relief, they should be used in conjunction with other treatments and recommendations from a healthcare professional.
How Long Does It Take For Shin Splints To Heal?
The healing time for shin splints may vary depending on the severity of the condition, your body’s natural healing ability, and how well you follow the recommended treatments. Mild cases of shin splints may start to show improvement within a few weeks of consistent care, while more severe cases could take several months to fully heal.
Consistency is key when it comes to healing shin splints. Give your shins ample time to rest and recover. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain and opt for low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling if you’re eager to stay active.
Applying ice to the affected area may also help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Consider using a compression bandage to further support the muscles and reduce swelling. As with relieving neck pain, TENS and EMS therapy may be a welcome addition to your recovery plan.
You may also want to consider engaging in gentle stretching exercises that target the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Gradually introduce strengthening exercises to improve muscle stability and prevent future injuries.
Finally, invest in proper footwear with adequate cushioning and arch support. Orthotic insoles or custom orthotics may also provide additional support to alleviate strain on the shins.
How To Avoid Shin Splints
Prevention is the best approach when it comes to shin splints. By taking proactive measures, you may be able to significantly reduce your risk of developing this painful condition.
When starting a new exercise routine or increasing intensity, do so gradually. Avoid sudden spikes in activity that can overload your muscles and lead to shin splints.
Always warm up before engaging in vigorous activity and cool down afterward. Incorporate dynamic stretches and foam rolling to prepare your muscles and promote blood flow.
Mix up your workouts to avoid overusing specific muscle groups. Incorporate activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga to provide variety and reduce strain on your shins.
Always make sure that your footwear fits well and is designed for the activity you’re engaging in. Replace your shoes regularly, as worn-out shoes may contribute to poor biomechanics and increased stress on your shins.
If you’re a runner, opt for softer surfaces like grass or tracks to reduce impact on your shins. Avoid running on hard surfaces like concrete whenever possible and don’t neglect regular stretching routines for your calf muscles and lower legs.
Dealing with shin splints doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding what shin splints are, how to treat them using TENS and EMS therapy, and how to prevent them in the first place, you can take charge of your shin health and stay active with confidence.
Remember, consistency and a holistic approach that includes rest and smart training practices are key to overcoming shin splints and preventing their recurrence. Your shins will thank you as you embark on pain-free adventures and activities once again!