Patients experiencing musculoskeletal injuries usually are concerned about the length of the recovery time because most people really need to get in their feet immediately due to work and other activities. However, as much as everyone needs to resume to their usual activities, musculoskeletal injuries really require individuals to rest to prevent further injury and promote normal recovery.
In the case of shin splints, rest is an essential initial remedy to help the lower leg recover without the possibilities of developing stress fractures and other injuries to the soft structures around it. Rest for shin splints usually involve a day of full rest to a week of minimal activities.
Full rest immediately following the injury is commonly employed because putting weight on the foot needs to be avoided. This can be done by elevating the feet on a 30 degrees angle while sitting, watching TV or lying down. After a day or two of resting the legs from your body weight, minimal activities can be employed, provided that these activities do not result in pain.
Most runners usually run through their pain, but this is the least thing that you should do. Shin splints commonly result from an overuse injury and a bad run so running through your pain may just cause the injury to worsen. When weight and tension is continuously placed on the shin, the small leg bone may just break leading to stress fractures. And, fractures are not the type of injury that you would like to develop. Shin splints result from the overuse of the soft structures around the lower leg so when tension is continuously placed on the leg, these structures may not be able to distribute weight throughout the limb causing a break in the bones.
So instead of immediately resuming your activities, take a day or two of full rest and a week of minimal activities. During days of minimal activities, you may walk around the house using a supportive device to lift some weight off your affected leg. You may also need to place compression bandages around the affected leg to help distribute the tension in the limb and avoid placing the weight on the affected area. If pain worsens during minimal activities, then it’s still necessary to avoid these activities that aggravate the pain.
The pain felt is usually a sign that an inflammatory process is still happening in the leg. So the presence of pain is usually an indication that you are not ready to resume your normal activities yet. Once pain has subsided, the inflammation is usually relieved so you can start at gradually increasing your activity. After a week of minimal activity, you might as well follow these simple steps to promote maximum performance once you get back to your routine:
- Start at low impact exercises and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the exercise.
- Get new training shoes with adequate support to the feet.
- Lose weight to relieve pressure on the feet and legs.
- Warm up and cool down in each and every exercise.
- Get some sport massage regularly.
All of these managements are usually effective in preventing the occurrence of a shin splint so take some rest and employ the above measures to ensure better performance.