Did you know the renowned Russian ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev probably suffered from shin splints? For dancers, it is a common injury, characterized by chronic pain along the inner edge of the shinbone.
But did you know runners and tennis players, as well as soccer and basketball players are also at high risk? And did you know that it takes just 15 minutes to make sure you can avoid this pain?
Shin splints (also called medial tibial stress syndrome) are caused by microabrasions along the lower leg bones (tibia) and the fibrous connective tissue (periosteum) that covers them.
The periosteum has attachment sites for muscles, ligaments, and tendons. When the periosteum gets inflamed (ouch), it's shin splints.
This can happen if you work out without warming up, or if you use worn-out shoes. (Runners should change their shoes every 300 to 500 miles).
If your foot turns in or out when you walk, that also can damage your shin. And being overweight is a major risk factor.
But this repetitive-use syndrome often is avoidable — and there are remedies.
Prevention: If your gait is off, see a podiatrist and a physical therapist for exercises to reduce stress on your lower leg. Running or walking? Wear supportive, cushioned sports shoes. Take time to warm up, whether you start out running slowly or stretch before you walk.
Treatment: Cook up a little RICE to heal your shin splints.
• Rest for at least a week.
• Ice three to four times daily for 20 minutes.
• Compress with an elastic bandage.
• Elevate frequently.
If you're overweight, lose 10 pounds. You'll reduce the pressure each step puts on your leg by about 40 pounds.
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