3 reasons you should take shin splints seriously

Want to Run Till you Drop? Why Not! But Don’t Run Into Shin Splint Pain Problem!

There is no thrill greater than the adrenaline coursing through your veins, your heart pumping, the wind blowing in your face as you beat the miles, as you conquer distance!

You love running and will do anything to keep at it, all runners are commonly plagued with the ‘shin splints pain’ that threatens to disrupt their beloved activity.

I am yet to come across any serious runner who hasn’t been troubled with shin splints (medically speaking Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome) at some point of time in their running stint! But it is precisely this reason why shin splints pain isn’t taken seriously by many and some even suggest ignoring it and running with it!

If ignoring the pain would make it go away we wouldn’t need the medical fraternity working so hard and tirelessly! We would just need distraction!

Here is why you should not turn a deaf ear to your pain and take shin splints seriously!

1. You don’t want to quit running, do you?

After enduring so much aches and pains you have established yourself as a serious runner! You wouldn’t want to turn your back on running forever! If you keep ignoring the pain, you could end up with serious permanent damage to tissues that may put an end to your running. Women are believed to have a greater risk of complications from shin splints so better take care, ladies! Also those who have flat feet or rigid arches are more prone to this problem and are advised to be cautious. If you ‘run’ through the pain you are adding more pain/damage to the existing injury! How sane is that?

2. Avoid stress fractures and need for intensive physiotherapy

Stress fracture is a little crack or severe bruising or breaking of the leg bones. It is caused by overuse of legs and repetitive running. It is the result of doing too much too soon. If you suddenly increase the intensity and type of your workout without gradual and steady steps you could end up with this. Our lower legs and feet bear our body weight and hence are most vulnerable to these fractures. The shin pain you experience could be this fracture instead of a shin splint! It usually takes anywhere between 6-8 weeks for such fracture to heal completely with physiotherapy and other treatments. Can you stay away from running for that long?

3. Avoid Compartment Syndrome & Surgery

The muscles in our legs are surrounded by fibrous bands of tissues creating distinct compartments. When an injury like shin splints or stress fracture cause swelling and increased pressure, the fibrous tissue being non flexible cannot stretch to accommodate the swelling and it may cause the muscles and nerves there to fail and eventually die. Compartment syndrome may even cause an infection that is lethal.

Though it is a relatively rare complication of shin splints, surgery is not completely ruled out as being necessary to cure your chronic shin splint pain if it is coupled with compartment syndrome. If diagnostic tests reveal high pressures within the lower leg tissues then you might need surgery right away! Fasciotomy will be performed to relieve the pressure. Even with surgery there is no guarantee of non-recurrence of pain.

Only one person and one person only will determine how good of a runner you become…
You will become as good as you let yourself be.
That one person is you.

This holds true not only for motivating you to become a great runner but also for taking care of yourself!

Don’t wait till your shin splint pain gets out of hand and jeopardises your well-being!

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