Rest is probably the most difficult thing for a person to do, especially an athlete. Athletes are typically focused on improving their performance and maximizing their training time, so the idea of taking a few days off doesn’t seem to fit into an athlete’s routine. If your occupation is the reason for your shin splints, it may be a difficult, or even impossible, to take a few days off to rest. This is where other factors such as corrective shoes or other assistive devices come in handy (discussed later in the reading). Sufferers of shin splints due to occupational labor may want to research occupational safety and techniques that help reduce injury while on the job.
However, rest is still the most crucial treatment option for shin splints. Since the primary cause of shin splints is overuse and unnecessary stress of the tibial bones and surrounding area, taking a week off can do wonders to help the area heal faster and return to normal. If you are able to take some time off to rest your shins following some of the solutions provided below could be your ticket to an even faster recovery.
- During rest, the application of ice packs can reduce the inflammation and provide temporary relief. They are easiest to apply when you have a few hours to lay back and relax. If you sit down to watch a 30-minute TV show, that’s long enough to apply an ice pack and allow the area to heal faster.
- Another great way to reduce inflammation while resting is the application of topical analgesic/pain relief solutions. These products typically come in the form of creams or lotions and contain menthol to help reduce the pain caused by shin splints. Topical solutions that carry menthol are most common, but some also include various “inactive” ingredients including Capsaicin, Aloe Vera, Arnica, Glucosamine, MSM, Calendula, etc. which can maximize the benefits. Products that contain Emu oil transfer their ingredients to the area of the pain faster, thanks to the transdermal properties that Emu oil contains.
- Other options that athletes have include switching to low-impact training and activity such as cycling or resistance training. Swimming is also another great option to focus on for a while because it will still allow you to develop or maintain your physical stamina, but still keep the pressure off of the shins.