Have you ever had shin splints? You would know it if you did. Shin splints cause pain in your shins (I'm sure you guessed that one). It hurts when you are exercising or walking longer distances. The pain gets worse as you continue to exercise. It may even make you have to stop running.
I had the pleasure of treating a woman in her 40’s who is loves to work out every day. She runs, does CrossFit, and even some Zumba. But for years she always had pain while exercising. After working out for a short time, she would get sharp pain in her shins. At first this pain would make her stop what she was doing. Over time, however, her determination to exercise caused her to ignore her pain and she kept going.
Even with her "mind over matter" approach, the pain worsened. She finally had to come to my office to see if there was a way to get relief.
She had already tried:
- Anti-inflammatory medication taken before she exercised
- Applying ice after exercise
- Massage to loosen up the muscles and tendons
- New running shoes
- Off-the-shelf insoles to give her support when she worked out
It sounds like she covered all her bases, doesn’t it?
Let’s take a minute and discuss what shin splints are. Shin splints occur when the muscle attaching to the shinbone becomes inflamed. It is an overuse injury, which is why you’ll often feel it when you are exercising or running. The muscle is being used too much and ends up needing more resources sent to it, like blood carrying oxygen. That’s why it becomes inflamed. It’s trying to slow you down. And it often succeeds.
It's important to note that everything that this patient tried before coming into the office was right. In fact, those are the steps I direct my patients to take when we first discuss their shin splints. We did make a few changes.
First of all, I recommended a more regular course of anti-inflammatory medication. This helps to keep a consistent level of medication in the body and does a better job of curing the inflammation. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication only before exercise is not usually effective.
I also evaluated this patient for a pair of custom orthotics. The orthotics made her feet more stable. They made her muscles work in a more efficient way. This caused the muscles to have to work less when she was exercising, eliminating the overuse. As a result, she had no more pain from shin splints.
After years of powering through the pain, running without pain made her feel like she was floating on air. She was thrilled that the fix was simple and didn’t need injections or surgery. You can have the same results that she did! Stop ignoring the pain and come into the office so we can discuss it. You’ll be glad you did.