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Q

Now that the weather is nicer, I have returned to running and have developed shin splints. What can I do?

 
A

Shin splints are an inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the shin bone (or tibia). Pain is usually present along the lower, inside edge of the tibia. Shin splints often occur as a result of overuse and inadequate recovery. The repetitive impact through the joints that running produces, results in muscle fatigue, which ultimately can lead to stress placed onto the fascia and even the bone. In certain cases, it may even result in a stress fracture. The treatment for shin splints is rest, as well as use of ice and compression in order to allow the tissue to heal properly. Once daily activities are pain free, you can GRADUALLY return to running. An important factor to remember is that your running routine should be different that that which led to the injury. For optimal return, you want to consider the following: a soft running surface (grass, dirt/gravel trail), appropriate running shoes with proper fit, and implementing a stretching routine for calf, hamstring, and quadriceps muscles. Avoiding running up/down hills will also decrease the amount of load placed through the shin and knee.

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