Shin splints, you may have experienced them, but do you know where they come from and how to prevent them from happening? Chiropractor Dr. Jeffrey Tucker provides 8 tips that help prevent and alleviate shin splints.
What are shin splints?
‘Shin splints’ is the general name given to pain at the front of the lower leg. It is not a diagnosis in itself, but a description of symptoms of which there could be a number of causes. The most common cause is inflammation of the periosteum of the tibia (sheath surrounding the bone). Traction forces occur from the muscles of the lower leg on the periosteum causing pain and inflammation.
Dr. Tucker’s recommendations to prevent shin splints
- Stretch the calf and other lower leg muscles.
I recommend the ½ foam roll calf stretch. Do this for a full two minutes at a time in the morning and before bed. Tension in the calf muscles is a common contributor to shin splints and keeping these muscles flexible and in good condition is essential so they can cope with the forces demanded of them.
Over-pronation or other biomechanical foot problems may also increase your chances of developing shin pain. As the foot rolls in then the lower leg rotates inwards, again, increasing the forces on the lower leg. If you suspect over-pronation or ‘flat feet’ to be a problem then see a chiropractor who can give a full biomechanical assessment and recommend orthotic type insoles to correct the problem. It is just as important, if not more important to correct foot motion at all times – not just when training.
- Gradually introduce mileage and track or hard surface training.
Limit training on hard surfaces – go by minutes of time spent on the track or distance on the track. Constant pounding on hard surfaces will send shock waves up the leg and increase the strain on the soft tissues. Also, too much running on the toes (essential for sprinters) may over-stress the muscles of the lower leg and increase the chance of developing shin pain.
- Strengthen the bottom of the feet by walking barefoot on 3” round river rocks.
This smacks in the face of wearing shock-absorbing insoles. Walking on hard, uneven surfaces will ultimately strengthen the feet, train the feet to reduce impact from running, and improve shock absorption. The goal is to minimize the transfer of vibration up the lower leg to the soft tissues.
- Get a regular chiropractic adjustment and deep tissue massage.
A chiropractor will identify joint restrictions, misalignments, tight muscles and areas of muscle tension long before they may develop into an injury.
- Tape the shins.
A simple taping technique exists that can help to support the lower leg and relieve shin pain. Do not rely on this alone in the long term if you have an injury. However, it can be useful in helping tissues to recover from hard training.
- Apply ice after training.
If you feel at risk of developing sore shins, then applying ice or cold therapy after each training session for 10 to 15 minutes can help keep any inflammation under control before it develops further.
- Use a hemp-derived CBD serum on the shins.
In cases where I used PHYTO-ZOL on my patients, the product was deeply absorbed into muscles within just two-four hours of applying it. Over 50% of the PHYTO-ZOL made it into the subjects’ circulation within five hours, with the rest presumably taken up by tissues in the gut or not absorbed. During the same period, a percentage of the serum was incorporated into new muscle. We break down and rebuild 1 to 2 percent of our muscle each day, meaning that you completely rebuild yourself every two to three months. Think of PHYTO-ZOL as a two to three month protocol.
PHYTO-ZOL is available through doctor referral or direct to consumer on our website.
Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB
Dr. Tucker’s interest in putting together the arts and science of Pilates, yoga, stretching, medicine balls, stability balls, rubber tubing, balance training, chi gong, weight training, cardio training, endurance training, diet, chiropractic, performance enhancement, muscle and massage therapy, has been evolving for more than 20 years. He completed Chiropractic training at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and has a postgraduate Diplomate degree in Rehabilitation and is certified in chiropractic spinal trauma.