Shin Splint Treatments & Stretches

By Keith Dooley

Shin splints cause pain on the front of the shin bone and are the result of various activities or medical problems. One causes of shin splints is continued stress on the legs from constantly walking long distances, as when playing golf, and carrying or pulling a bag behind only adds to the stress. Besides pain in the shin, swelling is possible as well as pain in the foot when it is pointed. The pain usually goes away after walking the course for a few minutes, but comes back after activity has ceased. There are some things that can be done for shin splints, as well as exercises that can help prevent them from occurring.

Rest

When an individual develops shin splints, the main course of treatment is rest. This is because more activity normally causes the inflammation to worsen and the area doesn't get a chance to heal. Keep the leg elevated and try not to do any strenuous activity that puts stress on the shins. If fitness needs to be maintained, a good exercise that won't harm the shin is swimming. It puts no weight on the leg and adds no stress.

Treatments

Medication helps to eliminate pain and reduces swelling in the legs. Putting ice on the shin will help with the pain and swelling and should be done as long as the pain is severe. After the initial stages of pain, heat is used to increase blood flow and aid in healing. A support strap around the leg keeps the muscles from straining too much during normal activity and reduces pain.

Stretching

Once initial pain is gone, stretching the muscles can help keep the problem from reoccurring. Standing toward a wall, with the knee slightly bent, slowly straighten the leg, keeping that foot flat on the ground. Hold it for a few seconds and then bend the knee again. Repeat with other leg. A similar stretch is done facing the wall, with the leg stretched out behind you and both hands against the wall. Lean into the wall as if doing a pushup. Remember in both stretches to keep the foot flat to the ground. Maintaining a stretching routine before and after activity can help prevent future problems with shin splints.

About The Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for Associated Content in the past and has been a contributing writer at Demand Media Studios for the last year, writing mainly for eHow, Trails, Golflink and Travels.

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