How To Stomp Out Shin Splints

Jessica Bodmer, Staff Writer

Athletes train hard every day in order to improve and dominate in games. In every sport, one of the most common obstacles that they face is shin splints.

Shin splints usually forms when a muscle is overworked, most commonly because training has changed or intensified. The muscle pulls away from the bone in your leg, which causes the pain.

Our St. Dominic athletic trainer, Ruth Young, can help your injury before practices in her office with heating, exercises and most commonly foam rolling and stretching. Depending on how bad the shin splints are, Ruth may give you a compression sleeve or wrap to help with support and circulation. Also, Ruth advises to always ice after practices and games.

“Treat them [shin splints] sooner rather than later because the longer you wait, the better chance they can become worse or turn into a stress fracture. Also, follow through with the treatments because people will come to me once and disappear for two months, then come back when they are much worse when it could have been prevented if they came back sooner,” Ruth said.

If shin splints are holding you back, cross training, such as biking or swimming, is a good way to stay in shape but also keep more stress and pressure off your leg.

A less common tactic to prevent shin splints is to invest in quality inserts in your shoes. Your shoes and gait pattern could cause pain, especially if you have flatter arches in your feet. People who have flatter feet get shin splints because when they walk their feet roll inward, which causes more stress on their legs.

Junior Audrey Weber has shin splints in her right leg from competing in volleyball at a high level.

“It hurts the worst after tough games and tournaments,” Weber said.

To treat the pain, she lays in her bed and ices the specific spots that hurt the most while her legs are elevated. Her shin splints have been a challenge for about a month now, and she continues to fight them.

Sophomore Logan Carey felt the same pain at his first cross country meet this year. His pain is bearable, and he still runs his normal distances for practices. Carey ices every day but still feels them after runs.

Another fast-paced sport caused junior Molly Fogarty to form shin splints her freshman year of lacrosse. They lasted the entire season, but she prevailed past the obstacle.

“I googled how to treat shin splints and found that RICE [rest, ice, compression and elevation] works the best for me,” Fogarty said.

Junior Skylar Prescott also learned the hard way what shin splints can do. She competed for two gymnastic seasons with shin splints and continued to train with no restrictions while barely treating her shin splints. Prescott only took Advil and wore a compression sleeve on her leg, which eventually led to a stress fracture at the end of last year and a boot for six weeks.

“I finally went to the doctor after the athletic trainer at my gym looked at it and told me to get it checked out because my shin hurt to the touch,” Prescott said.

Every athlete who has endured shin splints suggests to anyone who has shin splints to treat them as soon as possible and follow through the treatments until they are completely gone.

If you or anyone you know has shin splints, make sure they know how to attend the injury and prevent it from coming back. Shin splints can happen to anyone and can come from any sport, so make sure to properly keep yourself healthy!