Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is an athletic injury that is more common that you may think. In fact, the American Physical Therapy Association states that the condition "may affect up to 35 percent of athletes who run and jump." If you fall into this category, you'll want to seek treatment from a physical therapist as soon as possible.
Learn Which Exercises Benefit the Condition
Physical therapy services include a list of exercises and how to properly execute them to improve the health of your shins. For example, standing toe raises will help stretch your muscles, while resisted hip abductions strengthen the muscles. You will most likely spend time during your physical therapy session doing the prescribed exercises so that you will know exactly how to do them at home during the rest of the week.
Help With the Pain
Your physical therapist can massage the injured tissue to relieve pain and stimulate healing. He or she may also have you ice the area for 10 minutes during your session, and then repeat that a few more times at home. Depending on the severity of your injury, your PT may also use Kinesio Taping for extra support of the area.
There are several different types of shoes, shoe inserts, and orthotics that can aid in providing support for the injured shin. Your physical therapist can not only recommend what you need, but also provide you with a prescription in the event that your insurance will cover the needed device.
While you are recovering from your shin splints, your physical therapist will recommend activities that you can take part in that won't put any added stress on your injury. For example, instead of going running each morning, which could make the shin splints worse, your physical therapist may suggest swimming for exercise, which is easier on your joints. Just remember that switching activities is just temporary and you'll be back to your favorite sport in no time.
It is important to follow all of the recommendations made by your physical therapist as shin splints that are left untreated can turn into stress fractures. If you continue to experience any type of pain, talk with your family doctor to see about adding an anti-inflammatory medication to the exercises and orthotics that were prescribed by your physical therapist. This will put you on the road to recovery so you can get back to your regular physical activity as soon as possible.
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