Living in The Blue Mountains area is great if you enjoy beautiful scenery and the variety of winter activities that are available here, including hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing. All that activity on the slopes and trails can mean extra stress on your lower legs, though. You need to know how to treat shin splints correctly in order to heal them and prevent future issues.
Shin splints involve the muscles, tendons and even the bone tissue at the front of your legs. These can become irritated, swollen, and inflamed from overuse. The pain in your shins may be sharp, or just a dull achiness, and it is typically worse while you are moving and better when you are resting.
This condition can develop when you exercise on hills or inclines (even on the treadmill), because your muscles have to pull the front of your foot higher than normal or keep you from sliding forward while going downhill. It can also result from suddenly increasing an activity that you are not used to, like adding distance to your runs or upping the speed and intensity. Activities like basketball and dancing, with their sudden stops, starts, and changes in direction, can put you more at risk, as can structural problems like flat feet or rigid arches. Shoes can even play a role, especially if they are worn out and cannot absorb the trauma of your steps as well.
How do you treat shin splints? Start with rest. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks of limiting your activity for the pain and swelling to go down. You can also help relieve these symptoms by using cold therapy or ice packs on the area several times a day at first. After a couple of weeks of just walking normally, you can gradually add in some of your usual activities, but take it slow and stop at the first sign that pain is returning.
We can advise you on which pain relievers are safe and effective. We can also help you with physiotherapy to improve the strength of your leg muscles, and custom orthotics to address any biomechanical difficulties you have. It may take 3 to 6 months before your shins are back to full strength. Contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON, by calling (705) 444-9929 or requesting an appointment on our webpage. We’ll help you treat your shin splints right!
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