Shin Splints are another common pain that most athletes will experience sometime in there career. For athletes who participate in cheerleading you will hear them start to complain of this localized pain in the front of the lower leg when they have returned from a long break, increased their conditioning, or increased practice intensity.
Shin Splints are often caused by the following:
- Irritated and swollen muscles, usually from overuse
- “Flat Foot Tumbling” when the impact of tumbling collapses the foot arch from not tumbling on toes
- Stress Fractures, which are small breaks in the bone of the lower leg
Shin splints will often heal on their own when you reduce activity, but there are treatments that can help speed up the process of healing listed below:
- When it hurts, stop! Don’t push through the pain it will only make your injury worse
- ICE, ICE, ICE! Place an ice bag on the shin for 20 min 3 times a day or try one of these other methods. Place paper dixy cups full of water in the freezer, remove a part of the paper to expose the ice and massage the ice in the area where you are having pain until the ice is gone (repeat 3 times a day). Ice bucket, take a 5 gallon bucket fill it with water and ice and submerge your legs for 20 min 3 times a day. Whichever method you choose, continue to ice until your pain is gone.
- Toe Taps, while sitting at home or in school keep your heal flat on the floor and tap your toes until you feel fatigue in the front part of your lower leg. Repeat 3-5 times a day.
- Stretching of the lower leg, do this 2-3 times a day and make sure you are performing stretches that address the front lower leg muscles and calf area.
But as with any injury, if pain and discomfort does not go away you need to make an appointment to see your doctor.