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Shin splints are one of the most common problems associated with exercise. Referring to lower leg pain occurring below the knee, these shin splints often cause the most discomfort down the inside of the leg, along the front outside part of the leg and in the calf muscles. Instead of letting your bothersome shin splints take you out of the game, read on to find out how to relieve the stress of tightness in your shins.
Essentially, shin splints are caused by continued stress on the shinbone and the surrounding tissues that connect the calf muscle to the bone. Most often, these bones and muscles become overworked when physical activity is not increased at a gradual pace. More often than not, these aches in the shin bone are a result of a drastic or sudden change in workout or activity. Excessive impact on hard surfaces, overworking your body and switching from grass or sand to pavement when walking or running are also easy ways to develop this uncomfortable condition of the lower legs. Outside factors that may contribute to shin splints include improper footwear, arches that are abnormally rigid or flat feet.
Shin splints are most common among runners.
Symptoms of relatively mild shin splints start with slight discomfort and eventually turn into soreness and tenderness along one specific part of the lower leg. If you continue to run or stay active through this phase of symptoms, it's likely that swelling and more intense pain will develop. This pain may occur before, during or after exercise and in the worst cases it can be constant. If you experience dull, throbbing or sharp pains it is best to see your doctor.
Shin splints occur most often in runners and athletes who put in a lot of mileage on the field such as soccer, lacrosse, football and field hockey players. Dancers and military members are also at an increased risk for shin splints.
The good news is that pain from shin splints is relatively simple to alleviate when caught early enough. Most importantly, you should stop all activity as soon you feel or recognize the onset of shin splints. Rest and relieving your legs of the pressure is the best way to help promote faster healing.
In combination with rest, cold therapy can help to reduce swelling and ease discomfort by applying ice or cold packs to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes, several times a day. The Sunbeam® Cold Pack with VELCRO® Closure works well for shin splints as it can be easily strapped to your shin and held in place without using your hands. The integrated cover is safe for direct placement on the skin, eliminating the need for a dish towel or piece of fabric. This allows direct cold therapy to be delivered where you need it the most. It provides relief for aches and swelling and once you're done, it can easily be placed back in the freezer until the next use.
After several days of applying ice on your shins, you might want to apply heat therapy as well. The heat helps to increase circulation in your legs and then massaging the area afterwards provides additional relief.
With these tips for shin splints you can help feel back to your normal self again.
The Sunbeam® King Size Heating Pad with UltraHeat™ Technology can be used on your shin because it can cover the entire surface of your lower leg bone, to provide even and consistent heat therapy throughout. Designed to soothe muscle aches, the UltraHeat™ Technology maintains even heat that helps to relieve the pressure and discomfort of shin splints. Three different heat settings let you choose the intensity level for your comfort.