Recovering from injury


While running today, I found myself getting sore shins. Oh no, shin splints. I hate shin splints. I haven’t had to deal with shin splints in a long time so I decided to share some tips I have learned along the way to deal with some common sports related injuries.

Hopefully, if you are reading this, you know what a shin splint is. If not, It basically is identified as pain along the inside lower leg along your shin. There are many causes the most common is from inflammation from overpronation of the foot, oversupination of the foot, running on hard surfaces without proper cushioning, training on uneven ground or too much incline, the wrong shoes, increasing training too fast,jumping into training after a long period off, and decreased flexibility in the ankle.

In nursing school and in the field when I staff medical tents we always use the acronym R.I.C.EREST the injured area. Not really what many of us who are training for an event want to hear, but it helps and is important. Ice, 15-20 minutes four to five times a day, to the injured area is crucial in the early stages. It helps with decreasing inflammation in turn decreasing the pain. Compression, you can learn to tape your shin and calf muscle for added support or you can do it the easy way and use an ace wrap. Compression helps keep swelling down (swelling delays healing). Elevation, also helps control swelling. Elevation is most effective if you can elevate the extremity higher than your heart. For example, for your shins, lay on your bed with 2 pillows under the effected leg. R.I.C.E should be started immediately and continued for 48-72 hours. R.I.C.E can be used for many other injuries including sprains and strains. If after 48 hours you are not noticing a difference and the swelling is getting worse, make an appointment to see your primary doctor.

When the swelling is down and you are feeling better, start to stretch the area lightly. About.com had a great Sports Medicine page with a list of Flexibility and Stretching exercises you may find helpful. Heat is also good at this time, moist heat is best. This will increase the circulation to the area and help promote healing. Massaging the area gently will also help increase the circulation and promote healing, not to mention, it feels darn good!

Remember to stretch those calves and legs well after you run, lift weights, and workout. Your body will thank you for it.

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