Shin Rehab

Shin Rehab

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    PHOTO CREDIT: Diana Swanevelder

    Any runner who ever tried to increase mileage too soon will be familiar with the feeling of aching shins. “Shin splints” is only the layman’s term used to describe the dull, burning feeling experienced in the shin muscles. In medical terms it is referred to as tibial stress syndrome.

    This article is a follow-up on the previous article on shin pain. Here are some tips and exercises to relieve shin pain:

    RICE regime:

    • R – Resting. Once shin pain starts, it is very important to take some time off running. This will decrease the inflammation and prevent complications such as stress fractures.
    • I – Ice. Applying ice for 10 minutes on the shin will help to decrease swelling and pain in order to improve healing.
    • C – Compression. Compression socks also decrease the swelling in the muscles and provide support to weak muscles while rehabilitation takes place.
    • E – Elevation. Limb elevation facilitates backflow of blood to the heart, in order to remove toxins from the injured area. Gravity increases pooling of blood in the legs when standing and therefore elevation is needed to improve circulation.

    Exercises
    A. Stretch the calves for 30 seconds on each side, repeat 3 times.

    B. Walk up and down, firstly on your heels and then on your toes.
    C. Scrunch a towel with your toes.

    D. Pick up marbles with your toes.

    Complete rehabilitation needs to be done by a qualified physiotherapist, but these few valuable tips can be applied to control the initial pain and inflammation.

    Lené van Heerden
    As a physiotherapist Lené works with people in all walks of life, taking part in almost any and every type of physical activity. More often than not they find themselves in more pain than what you can ever imagine. Working with these people energizes her, but it is also poses a great challenge. Through this she has learnt a lot about the prevention and management of injuries. Lené will be providing trail runners with valuable tips and techniques to avoid injuries and to enhance their performance on the trails! Trail Running is my ticket to switching off my phone, getting dirty and experiencing nature the way it was intended.

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