A shin splint is a common type of pain that can occur during physical activity. It is primarily associated with activities like running, jumping, dancing, soccer and basketball. Shin splints stem from inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue in the shins and can occur in one or both legs at the same time. There are several stretches and exercises that can help prevent and relieve shin splint pain.
How Do I Know if I Have a Shin Splint?
If you experience pain along the inside front of your lower leg following physical activity, there's a good chance it's a shin splint. Although shin splints can occur during regular activities, most documented cases are observed in people who participate in high-impact exercises. Most, if not all, professional athletes have experienced shin splints at some point during their careers. While some people treat shin splints as a minor inconvenience, if they’re not treated properly, it can turn into a stress fracture. Here are some situations that may increase the likelihood of experiencing a shin splint:
- Starting a new exercise routine
- Not warming up or stretching before exercise
- Making sharp movements such as sudden stops and starts and sharp turns
- Poor form while running or increasing your weekly mileage too quickly
- Landing hard from a jump
- Wearing poor-fitting or inadequately cushioned footwear
- Poor diet
Shin Splint Prevention Tips
The best way to prevent shin splints is by adequately warming up and stretching before engaging in physical activity. This principle applies to everyone, whether you're a professional athlete or just starting to exercise. Just like a car engine needs time to warm up in cold weather, the human body needs blood to circulate to the muscles before activity. Proper warm-up and stretching will help loosen the muscles and tendons. This improves strength, endurance, and flexibility, making them less susceptible to inflammation and shin splints.
Another way to prevent shin splints and injuries, in general, is by exercising safely. Observe proper form and avoid overexerting yourself. Beginners often make the mistake of going too hard too soon. Consult a doctor or personal trainer before starting a new exercise routine.
Diet is another often overlooked component of preventing shin splints. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, copper, and potassium can weaken bones and joints and negatively affect blood circulation. A high-sodium diet may also increase the risk of inflammation. Eating a balanced diet will help provide your muscles with the nutrients they need to perform at their best. You should also make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Do Compression Sleeves Help Shin Splints?
In addition to the above points, wearing proper footwear can also help prevent shin splints. For activities like running, a pair of well-fitting, properly cushioned sneakers are a must. Wearing specially designed athletic wear can also help prevent injuries. A calf compression sleeve adds another layer of support for your legs. By compressing your calves and shins, compression sleeves increase oxygen and blood flow to the areas most susceptible to shin splints and related injuries. The boost in circulation helps improve muscular endurance, increase muscle efficiency, and aid in pain relief.
No matter how you exercise, safety comes first. The last thing you want to do is ignore pain or push yourself while injured. If you experience shin splints regularly or suffer from chronic pain, visit your doctor for a checkup. To prevent shin splints, it’s important to:
- Properly warm-up, stretch, and cool-down to help minimize the risk of injury and improve recovery.
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet and stay hydrated to improve muscle performance.
- Always exercise safely and at the right intensity for you.
- Wear shin compression sleeves to help reduce the risk of shin splints.
Best Compression Sleeves for Shin Splints
Compression sleeves by Dr. Motion can help to prevent pain and injury and enhance your exercise performance. Made from 96 percent Nylon and 4 percent Elastane, our men and women’s compression calf sleeves provide provide moisture-wicking, anti-microbial, and anti-odor benefits. Our size chart will help you choose a well-fitting pair of compression sleeves. You can wear Dr. Motion compression sleeves by themselves or in conjunction with compression socks for additional comfort and support.