Sore Muscles Athletes expect a certain amount of muscle soreness following a workout, but when leg muscles become sore without an apparent reason, it could be an early signal of shin splints. It doesn't take much effort for shin splints to develop, but the resulting pain will increase with added activity.
These are the most common symptoms of shin splints: Pain felt on the front and outside of the shin. It's first felt when the heel touches the ground during running. In time, pain becomes constant and the shin is painful to the touch.
Symptoms of shin splints generally get worse with activity and ease with rest. Pain may be worse when you first get up after sleeping as the sore tibialis muscle shortens while you rest, and it stretches painfully when you put weight on your foot.
Shin splints often go away once the legs have had time to heal, usually in three to four weeks. Most people can resume an exercise program after their legs have healed. It takes longer to recover from a stress fracture, so it is best to have shin splints treated early.
X-rays, bone scan, and MRI are often negative with shin splints, but they may help to differentiate shin splints from stress fractures. X-rays may demonstrate some generalized periosteal thickening.
One simple technique for preventing shin splints is heel walking. It's a quick and effective way to strengthen the muscles on the front of your shin—a hard-to-strengthen area—and you can do it anywhere.
When dealing with this injury, ice and cold therapy is the only way to go! While heat can exacerbate inflammation, icing your shins several times a day can help to noticeably reduce pain and swelling.
Sports massage can help enormously with the treatment of shin splints by improving the flexibility of the muscle in the lower leg. However, it is important that the therapist avoids the inflamed areas along the tibia (shin bone) which are often painful.
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Continuing to run with shin splints is not a good idea. Continuing the exercise that caused the painful shin splints will only result in further pain and damage that could lead to stress fractures. You should either eliminate running for a while or at least decrease the intensity with which you train.
Shin splints can become a sudden, unexpected pain in the shin when you start walking or running regularly. They can come on when you start dancing. They're also common to people new to the military with all the pack marching and drilling they have to do regularly.
Be aware, however, that while it is a non-impact activity, cycling can increase shin pain for those with severe pain and also be a cause of shin splints. In order to avoid this, make sure to have a properly aligned bike and that you are using a pedal technique that avoids stressing the shin muscles.