It’s not surprising to see people having lower leg problems when an exercise program is started. A common problem occurring is known as SHIN SPLINTS. It’s a familiar name and many of us neglect and do not treat or rehabilitate it. Shin splints should be treated and rehabilitated as we do for other injuries. If neglected chances of reoccurring are high and it can be harmful too.
How do we get shin splints?
1. From a direct hit or blow which is a very uncommon
2. Stress factures in one of the lower leg bone (fibula) common in long distance runners mainly found in recreational exerciser who jog long distances
3. Triggered by over use of the lower leg during athletic training or new comers to exercise which is known as compartment syndrome (growth of muscle due to repetitive movements).
There common signs which indicates shin splints.
1. A minor pain which gradually increase on the lower leg until it becomes impossible to continue running
2. Weakness when the leg is flexed or bent upwards
3. Sensation of numbness
4. Swelling on the front of lower legs
5. Pain when foot is passively bent downwards.
The rehabilitation process for shin splint is very straight forward.
Rest Actively: This means you can continue a physical activity without exposing your legs to continuous tension. One of the best rehabilitation exercise is swimming, apart from swimming you can do light cycling or do light cross training on an elliptical. You can also continue with light weight training for your upper body.
Ice treatment: Apply ice (use a medium between ice & skin) on the area of pain for 10 to 12 minutes in every two waking hours.
Rehabilitation exercise: Perform these exercises during the active rest period.
· Ankle circles: Sitting with you legs out straight, turn your involved foot in small circles clockwise. Repeat counterclockwise. Start with small circles, and then gradually increase the size o the circle. Repeat 8 to 10 times each way.
· Ankle Flexions: Sitting with your legs out straight, pull your whole foot and ankle up towards you as far as possible, keeping you knees straight. Hold for 5 seconds, and then push your foot and ankle away from you as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.
Back to sport or activity: Do not return to the normal activity as long as the pain remains and if the pain is not easing at all consult a doctor.
Progression of training: If you are a new comer to exercise or even an athlete its advised to follow a gradual progression plane. For new comers to exercise it’s advisable to first walk and then progress to fast walking and to slow jog and so on.