Shin splints occur when you develop pain along the side of your shin bone. Usually, this pain appears toward the inside of the skin, in which case you're said to have medial shin splints. On occasion, however, you may also develop lateral shin splints, which appear on the outside of the skin bone. Shin splints are common in new runners, hikers who push themselves, and even athletes who play running-heavy sports like soccer and basketball.
Often, resting and icing the area for a week or two will allow the shin splints to heal. But if this does not work for you, then you should see an orthopedist. Here are some of the ways they can help you.
Shin splints are mostly due to inflammation in the muscles, tendons, and lining of the bone in your shin. But the pain of shin splints can be worse when the muscles in this area shorten and tighten up. Stretching them out can ease your pain temporarily, and it can also help encourage stubborn shin splints to heal. However, your shins are a tough area to stretch. Your orthopedist can show you some targeted stretches to do, based on the specific site where you're feeling the pain. They can also give you guidance as to how often and when to stretch.
Shin splints are sometimes the result of an imperfect gait or way of running. You may, for example, pronate too much as you stride. Your orthopedist can watch you walk and run and let you know whether anything about your gait may be causing your shin splints. Then, they may advise that you wear different shoes to correct your gait. Or, they may have some recommendations for ways to strengthen your muscles in a way that will improve your gait.
Depending on how severe your shin splints are, your orthopedist may also recommend some other therapies. For instance, they may show you how to massage your shins. They may also recommend using a TENS device to relax the muscles and ease pain in the area. Sometimes, they might recommend a topical agent, such as CBD or capsaicin cream.
Shin splints are common, and they can be quite painful. If resting has not put an end to the pain in your shins, then it is time to do more.
Contact an orthopedic doctor near you to learn more about orthopedics.