Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) is a common condition that can be incredibly painful for the patient. The term ‘shin splints' is in reference to a non-specific problem that manifests itself with painful and sometimes inflamed shins. It's often a result of overstressing of the muscles, tendons and bone tissues of the shins, leading to discomfort. It's not a serious problem, but it's one that can be debilitating for a short period of time.
In this article we'll look at practical approaches to managing shin splits, investigating what the current guidelines suggest you do to help the issue. We'll also assess evidence-based solutions, leaving you with advice to help manage and even prevent the issue in the first place.
Time to read: 5 minutes
- What causes shin splints?
- Treating shin splints.
- Preventing Shin Splints for long term.
- Using KYMIRA to help manage shin splints
- Managing Shin Splints - final thoughts
In this article we'll look at practical approaches to managing shin splits, investigating what the current guidelines suggest you do. We'll also leave you with evidence-based help and advice to prevent the issue in the first place.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Stretching exercises decrease the muscle stiffness (17) and muscle rigidity which is one of the most common causes of muscle pain. Similarly, rolling your muscles also breaks down the muscle tension and can leave your body feeling much more relaxed. Plus muscle rolling, has been shown to improve pain perception in tender spots (18). Pain and stress tend to stiffen the body as a natural response to the flood of adrenaline, so tools to mediate this are important. If using muscle rolling within an exercise regime, evidence suggests this is best done as a warm up tool as there is some mixed results for its effect on DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), when used as a cool down method.
Treating Shin Splints
When dealing with shin splints, treatment is often split into two phases – the ‘acute' and ‘subacute' phases. In the acute phase, the goal of treatment is to remove the initial discomfort – treatment can include anti-inflammatory medications, hydrotherapy and soft tissue work. These have some moderate to strong results in the early phase.
In subacute treatments, the goal is more preventative because it seeks to remove the causal factors, including modifying footwear, training regimens and the terrain on which the patient is regularly running or walking.  These approaches are most effective because it doesn't allow the problem to manifest in the first place.
Some therapists will use insoles as a treatment for shin splints and there is some evidence to suggest this could be a viable option in some cases .
Preventing Shin Splints for Long Term
The strongest evidence points to a prevention, not cure model. By managing impact and stress loads you can avoid the problem in the first place. There are a number of ways we can go about this…
- Reduce the amount of high impact activity you do, especially in shoes that lack support
- Listen to your body – at the first signs of a problem, reduce the impact
- Buy shoes that support your feet properly – pronation is linked to the problem. If needs be, have a gait analysis done
- Always buy good quality supportive shoes. If you run or walk long distances, this becomes even more important
- Drink plenty of water and keep tissues well hydrated
- Limit the amount of walking on uneven terrain and if possible, reduce the amount of steep uphill walking you do until symptoms subside
- After long days on your feet, stimulate blood flow to help stimulate healing to the feet and legs
If you're susceptible to shin splints, employ all of these tactics and you should avoid the problem. You'll certainly prevent it from become a significant issue.
Using KYMIRA to help manage Shin Splints
The KYMIRA compression socks are a fantastic help in dealing with shin splints. They offer support to the shins in the form of the compression element, and the infrared technology helps to manage the condition very effectively. Research shows that infrared also helps to control inflammation .
By wearing the socks you benefit from the anti-inflammatory elements over a prolonged period – it works as long as the socks are on. The stimulation of blood flow from the infrared technology also helps to promote the healing of the microtrauma in the shins that cause the discomfort in the first place.
Managing Shin Splints - Final Thoughts
Whilst the problem isn't always straightforward to pinpoint, you can take steps to prevent and manage your shin splint risk. It's largely a question of controlling the underfoot conditions, the volume of high impact activity and the quality and suitability of the footwear you opt for.
By following our advice in this article and wearing the KYMIRA compression socks, you'll give yourself the best possible chance of managing you risk and discomfort from shin splints.