Alternate Treatment for Runner's Shin Splints
It is a terrible waste when you are on a great running plan getting ready for that big race coming soon; everything is set and ready to make a great finishing time, a possible PR and then tragedy strikes... you feel an acute pain on your shin that makes you stop your trainings and tie you to hot and cold packs on your leg. Sounds familiar? Shin splints or tibial periostitis is a common pain in runners. It affects the front or sides of the lower leg. It is a frequent overuse injury that appears in athletes exercising their legs more than they should, something pretty common in long distance runners.
It is actually a pretty serious injury that if is not treated properly can cause stress fracture in the shin bone. The well-worn muscle becomes injured and destabilized. This damage causes the muscle to tug away from the bone and in consequence producing inflammation and pain. It is not recommended to "run through the pain" since the severity of the injury can be worsened throughout the activity even if the individual does not feel pain during the exercise.
Among the common symptoms felt by patients with this condition are fatigue, dizziness, pain and numbness of the feet since the swollen muscles irritate the nerves. External signs can be swelling, discoloration of the skin and rashes. These traces could also be signs of other conditions that are commonly confused with shin splints like compartment syndrome and a bone stress fracture.
There is a number of causes that could be involved as factors for shin splints. Besides excessive force product of the over-mileage some runners cover abruptly, there are other more simple aspects that contribute, such as over-pronation, wrong stretching, worn or inappropriate running shoes, constantly running in the same way on a track or even poor running technique. Also the runner's dominant leg is the one usually involved, for example, if you are left-handed, then probably that is the leg that will hurt. Having flat feet or rigid arches can also be a common cause and people with these features have a higher risk of developing shin splints.
All treatments to help cure shin splints agree in one common object: when shin splints strike, stop and rest. It can be up to two weeks before you can meet the roads again. This type of leg pain is not one that cures by doing more exercise. Cold packs are the first step to reduce inflammation. Over the counter pain killers can help alleviate the pain (check with your specialist first).
When recommended, alternate physical therapy has proven to give better and long lasting results. Treatment can include ultrasound and electric stimulation. The Us Pro 2000 portable ultrasound device is excellent for treating this variety of soft tissue condition; its vasodilatation technique causes the circulation to improve, loosen up the smooth muscle cells and activate the healing process.
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