Frequently Asked Questions About Shin Splints

FAQ

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  • Shin splints are recurring, but each case is different for people who have them
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with shin splints, it’s important to immediately limit physical activities to help the affected leg heal

Q: What do shin splints feel like?

A: The pain caused by shin splints is generally described as sharp and razor-like, and can occur during and after exercise. Touching the affected area can cause the pain to worsen as well.1

Q: How can you tell if you have shin splints?

A: The main indicator of shin splints is pain and soreness along the inner side of your shinbone. In some cases, swelling may also occur. Minimize any sort of physical movement to prevent symptoms from worsening while you seek treatment.2

Q: How do you get rid of shin splints?

A: There are several ways to get rid of shin splints. One of the first things you can do is to simply rest your affected leg, especially if you’re a runner. If you want to maintain peak physical fitness while you heal, consider taking up a low-impact sport, such as swimming or cycling.3

Another way of getting rid of the pain is by using cold therapy. Apply an ice pack on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes, four to eight times a day, depending on the need.4 If you need to do important errands, wrapping kinesiology tape on the affected area can help increase mobility.5 You can visit the Treatments page to discover more ways to help get rid of your shin splints.

Q: How long do shin splints last?

A: Shin splints are recurring, but each case is different for people who have them. Depending on the activities you do and how soon you are able to treat the pain, shin splints  can take anywhere between three to six months to completely heal.6

Q: How long does it take for shin splints to heal?

A: If you’ve been diagnosed with shin splints, it’s important to immediately limit physical activities to help the affected leg heal. You will need around two to four weeks of rest, but walking is OK as long as you don’t strain yourself. Once the pain is gone, slowly resume your activities and gradually increase the intensity to return to your optimal level. All in all, it can take anywhere between three and six months to heal. Do not rush into your sport because you can injure yourself again.7

Q: How do you use kinesiology tape on shin splints?

A: If you’re injured but still require some degree of athleticism, you can use kinesiology tape, a supplemental therapy designed to help manage muscle pain.8 Follow this procedure outlined by Brett Sears, a licensed physical therapist:9

1. Cut an I-shaped strip of the tape 3 inches shorter than your shin.

2. Remove 2 inches of the back on one end and apply the tape to the top part of your anterior tibialis muscle, which is located 2 inches below the lateral aspect of your knee.

3. Once the end of the tape has been applied, remove the remaining paper backing. While flexing your ankle upward, apply the other end of the tape to the top of your foot, close to the big toe.

3. Press down the tape from below the knee to your shin, until you reach your ankle and foot. Gently rub the tape to activate the adhesive.

Q: What’s the difference between a shin splint and a stress fracture?

A: A shin splint is usually confused with a stress fracture because both conditions can cause pain in the lower leg. However, the difference between the two is how they occur. In shin splints, the pain is caused by stress on the shin bone and its surrounding connective tissues.10 Stress fractures, on the other hand, are caused by tiny cracks on the shin bone.11

MORE ABOUT SHIN SPLINTS

Shin Splints: Introduction

What Are Shin Splints?

Shin Splints Symptoms

Shin Splints Causes

Get Rid of Shin Splints

Types of Shin Splints

Shin Splints Treatment

Shin Splints Exercises

Shin Splints Prevention

Shin Splints Diet

Shin Splints FAQ

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