One of the more common questions asked by runners is how calf compression sleeves prevent shin splints.
Have you or somebody you know ever been bothered by shin splints? Pretty irritating right? The funny thing is they can be debilitating as well, especially if you like to push yourself. Having to take a forced break from the sport you love is never fun but necessary at times.
In this article, we’re going to cover what shin splints are, how a calf compression sleeve can help you prevent them, and some ways to recover if you do get them.
What are shin splints?
Shin splints are irritations in the shin bone or tibia. They come from overuse of the leg muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone tissue. From WebMD, the four most common causes of shin splints include
- Stress fractures of the tibia
- Weakness and overuse of stabilizing muscles in the hips and legs
- Flat feet while running
- Irritated or swollen leg muscles
Shin splints are one of the most common runner injuries along with muscle strains and pulled muscles. They are most prevalent when increasing workout intensity and going from a soft running surface to a hard one.
For instance, if you’re used to running on grass or dirt and switch over to a treadmill or track, then the odds of getting shin splints increase. The vibrations from the harder surfaces inflame the muscles and bone to a point where micro tears and fractures can occur.
Other risk factors might include:
- Running on uneven terrain like hills
- Varying degrees of workout intensity such as sprints, jogging, and sharp turns
- If you’re a beginner in the world of running
- tenderness on the inside of the lower leg
- mild swelling in the lower leg
The pain generally ceases when stopped but quickly picks back up after you begin running again if it hasn’t fully healed.
So how do compression sleeves work?
Calf compression sleeves stabilize the calf muscles. By stabilizing these muscles, the sleeves will minimize the vibrations upon running or walking on the surface. The sleeves will absorb the vibrations. This means less vibrations going to the tibia and calf muscles.
The more vibrations that get to the muscles and shin bone, the greater the risk of shin splints. This is why calf compression sleeves are a necessity, especially for serious athletes that are prone to shin splints.
If it happens you become afflicted with some nasty shin splints, there are some steps you can take to recover from them.
Some of these methods for recovery include:
- Rest – this is the most natural way for your body to handle the inflammation
- Ice the affected area – via WebMD, do it every 20 to 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours until the pain is gone and the swelling has gone down
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications – these include medicines from the NSAID class like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Naproxen. These are to be used sparingly as they come with side effects of their own. Talk to your doctor if you are at all concerned about taking them.
- Identify the root cause and correct it – This is useful advice if you continue to have recurring bouts of shin splints. You might have flat feet that only a professional can identify. You might also need special inserts for your shoes or even have a pair custom designed to provide the perfect contour for your feet.
Some severe stress fractures might require surgery so it’s best to give your shins plenty of time to heal to prevent further stress.
First, we covered what shin splints are, the symptoms of them, how calf compression sleeves work to prevent them, and some treatments to help heal the inflamed area.
Though shin splints are considered a minor annoyance, they can grow to be much more debilitating if left untreated. The sooner you begin to take pressure off the tibia, the sooner it will begin to heal. Take control of your health today by preventing shin splints with a pair of calf compression sleeves and your body will thank you for it.