Do Compression Socks Help Against Shin Splints For Runners?

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Compression Socks

What Is Shin Splints?

Shin splints, medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a common condition that may happen during intense physical activities. The condition is primarily associated with activities, such as jumping, dancing, playing football, and running. Shin splints may result from inflammation of tendons, bone tissues, and muscles. The pain may occur in one or both legs at the same time. It is estimated that shin splints account for 10.7% of injuries in male runners and 16.8% of injuries in female runners.

Shin Splints: Major Causes/Risk Factors

The following are the major causes/risk factors that can trigger shin splints in runners:

  • Intense sports or training: Shin splints most often occur when someone starts a new intense sport or training, which results in increased or repetitive use of tissues.
  • Wearing unsupportive footwear: High contact sports or training, such as running, requires wearing supportive equipment, especially footwear. If footwear does not offer good support and cushioning, it may cause shin splints during running.
  • Running on hard surfaces: You are more likely to get shin splints if you make a lot of starts and stops, running, or jumping on a hard surface. It may also lead to a stress fracture.
  • Running on uneven surfaces: The chances of shin splints are high while running on an uneven surface.
  • Pre existing problems: If you are already suffering from foot, ankle, or leg problems, such as high arches, flat feet, and hyper pronation, they may cause shin splints.
  • Poor Running form: Before starting running or practice, make sure you have proper form. Poor form or posture, including your feet hitting the ground too forcefully at the heel, can trigger shin splints.
  • Tight calf muscles: Tight calf muscles can exert extra pressure on your calf, resulting in shin splints.

Shin Splints: Major Symptoms 

If runners experience any of the given symptoms, they may have developed shin splints:

  • Pain: Shin splints may result in pain in the front and inner parts of the lower leg. You may also feel pain during exercise. 
  • Swelling: You may face potential swelling on the lower leg.  
  • Tenderness: Shin splints may also cause tenderness along the inner part of the lower leg.
  • Numbness: Your leg may feel numbness and weakness.  
  • Redness:  In severe cases, you may also feel redness on your lower legs.

Shin Splints: How to Diagnose

The following ways help your GP to diagnose shin splints;

Physical Examination: Your GP or doctor will perform a physical checkup. First of all, they will go through your history, examine how you walk and look at your foot, ankle, and leg. The complete physical checkup will involve moving your ankle and foot around and checking the swelling and tenderness around the bone.

Tests For Shin Splints: If your GP is not satisfied with the physical exams, they may take some tests to diagnose the injuries. These tests may comprise magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, X-Rays, and bone scans. 

Shin Splints: Best Treatments

The following discussion is about treatments that can help shin splints: 

Physical Treatments

You can perform various conservative measures or physical treatments on your own or under the instructions of your GP to treat the shin splints; these include;

Rest: You should take a rest from running or other physical activities to give your muscles and bones a chance of self-recovery.  

Ice Massage: While giving rest to your body, you should also apply cold compresses to your shins for 10 to 20 minutes. Apply cold compresses three to four times a day. Ice massage helps reduce pain and swelling of shin splints.

Pain Relievers: Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs help ease swelling and pain.

Supplements: Vitamin D3 supplements can also help you with pain. Discuss supplements with your GP.

Start Activities Slowly: Once becoming active again, start your activities or sports slowly. Gradually increasing the activities will reduce the risk of shin splints returning.

Supportive Footwear: Experts suggest wearing supportive footwear for people having flat feet and other problems. Supportive footwear may help alleviate some of the pain by distributing pressure.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be helpful, especially when returning to running and other physical activities.

Surgical Treatments

If conservative measures or physical treatments are not enough to treat the injuries, surgery will be next. The following surgical treatments are helpful to treat shin splints:

Fasciotomy: This process involves making strategic cuts in the thin fascia surrounding the calf muscles to relieve pain.

Periosteal Stripping: This process involves removing a thin strip of the connective tissues surrounding the tibia, or shin bone, also known as periosteum. This surgery is helpful when shin splints result from inflammation of the periosteum.

Shin Splints: Preventions

The following preventive measures will help you keep your legs safe from shin splints during running:

  • Stretching Hamstring And Calves: Try stretching your hamstrings and calf muscles to avoid shin splints.
  • Avoid Sudden Increases In Physical Activities: A sudden increase in physical activities, such as walking, jumping and running, can cause shin splints. Increase your physical activities, especially running, slowly to avoid shin splints and other problems.
  • Find Soft Surfaces For Running: Make sure that you are performing exercises or running on soft surfaces. Do not practice or run on hard or uneven surfaces.
  • Warm-Up Your Body: Before starting exercises or running, warm up your body slightly. It will help increase the range of motion of the joints and will also activate your muscles.
  • Wear Proper Running Or Athletic Shoes: Your equipment, especially footwear, does matter while running or during other workouts. During running, poor posture and improper footwear can put you in danger of injuries, such as shin splints.
  • Maintain Your Body Weight: For athletes, especially runners, body weight also matters. Being overweight or obese can lead to a higher risk of shin splints.
  • Wear Compression Socks: You can also wear compression socks for shin splints, which results in extra protection and a safe running experience.

How Do Compression Socks Help With Shin Splints?

Compression socks or sleeves are specifically designed to put pressure on the lower legs, helping to reduce discomfort and swelling and promote blood flow. People with poor blood flow, swollen or enlarged veins, and other leg problems are sometimes advised to wear compression socks.

Benefits Of Wearing Compression Socks:

The following are the benefits of wearing compression socks:

Compression Sleeves Limit Swelling: Compression sleeves help limit swelling by providing proper circulation when you need it. Long-distance runners and older people may suffer from strain no matter how perfect their form is. But, wearing compression socks helps increase muscle stabilization and blood flow, reducing the chances of strain and any other leg injuries.

More Warmth: Compression socks aim to provide your legs with extra layers of warmth, helping muscles warm and proper blood flow. Tight and cold muscles are more likely to be strained or damaged. Calf compression sleeves help prevent these conditions.

A Little More Protection: Are you a trail runner or going to run in the forest preserves? Calf compression sleeves can add a layer of protection from all kinds of ticks and bugs.

Quicker Healing: Compression sleeves help muscles to heal faster after a race or particular gruelling training. It helps deoxidized blood flow back to the body quickly, which is also good for your heart. If you are wearing compression sleeves after an injury or leg surgery, they will help speed up the recovery process.

When Should You Wear Compression Socks?

The duration of wearing compression socks depends upon the needs. People can either wear them all day long or for a few hours only. You must take the help of your GP to wear compression socks. Remember that if it is not necessary to wear compression socks all day, you should avoid wearing them because they can cause adverse effects and worsen your pain. Moreover, the improper use of compression socks can also result in pain and discomfort.

Buy the Best Compression Socks for Shin Splints

If you suffer from a shin splint or any other leg injury and want to get a fast recovery, 360 relief provides you with the best compression socks for shin splints. If you are a runner and looking for a safe running experience, our leg compression sleeves help you perform safely on the trail.