Many runners are familiar with the sharp lower leg pain commonly referred to as shin splints. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints occur when inflammation develops where the muscles attach to the bone. Cordelia W. Carter, MD, director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center and clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone, shares some tips with Runner’s World to help treat and prevent shin splints, and keep runners doing what they love.
Dr. Carter recommends people first take a break from the activity until acute pain stops. “If you feel a little better, and you try to go back too soon, you’re setting yourself back to square one,” she says.
In addition to resting, Dr. Carter encourages icing the leg to help reduce inflammation and swelling. People with shin splints may also safely take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to quell pain. It may also be useful to invest in inserts, kinesiology tape, compression socks, or a foam roller, says Dr. Carter.
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