You jogged more than a mile today. Achieving this milestone calls for celebration, but your shins hurt. The front part of your lower leg is a collection of muscles, bone and connective tissue. If you overwork this area, especially during a long-distance run, you feel shin splints. Learn more about this ailment and how to treat it, including icing the area.
The First 48 hours
You might ask "what are shin splints?" as you deal with pain throbbing down your leg. Tiny tears within the muscle or connective tissue are common, shin splint causes. These tears are in sensitive areas, which leads to a lot of pain. For the first 48 hours, rely on ice packs. Specialized packs come with straps so that you can wrap them around your leg. Ice the area for about 10 minutes, and then rest it for around 60 minutes. Continue to alternate icing and resting for the best results.
Decreasing Blood Flow
Shin splint symptoms include inflammation. You want to control this natural reaction at the start of the injury. The best way to calm the inflammation is by applying ice packs to the skin. The cold temperatures cause the blood vessels to constrict. With less blood entering the area, the inflammation cannot swell and cause other issues to arise. After the first 48 hours, however, you want some inflammation so that the area can heal with nutrients found in your blood supply.
Cold temperatures also create a painkilling sensation. In essence, your nerves numb off as the icy cold settles into your tissues. There's no need to take any medicinal painkillers, which is beneficial for anyone's health. Always adhere to the 10-minute limit on icing an area, however. The tissue still needs to recuperate from the extreme conditions.
Resting the Injury
You may feel ready to take on the world with an ice pack on your shin splints, but take it easy. Resting the injury is just as important as icing it. Listen to your body and put only limited weight on the leg. Turn to heat applications after two or three days in order to improve your healing process.
In most cases, there's no need to seek out medical care when shin splints occur. Personal care at home is normally the best solution. Continue to rest the injured leg until you feel better. Several days may be all that's necessary to get you back to your daily run.