One moment you are jogging, working out, or maybe just exercising. And the next moment, you experience a sharp and unbearable pain shooting up your lower leg. Have you ever faced such a situation that left you wondering what went wrong? Well then, the answer is shin splints. Shin splints is a commonly used term for the pain that occurs in the front part of your lower leg. This condition, though painful, can be treated easily and effectively right at home. Are you looking for a little more information on this condition? Read on to find more about shin splints, the types, causes, symptoms, and some of the best home remedies to treat the condition.
Shin splints are one of the most common exercise-related problems that cause severe pain in your shin bone – the large bone in your lower leg. Medically known as medial tibial stress syndrome, it is often a result of overworked muscles, tendons, and bone tissues of your shin bone. It is a common occurrence in athletes, but anybody is susceptible to it depending on the level of physical activity they are involved in.
The pain in your shin can also be due to the following reasons:
Repeated stress to the shin bone may result in a small fracture. This fracture, which is an overuse injury, is referred to as stress fracture.
Your lower leg is made of several muscle compartments, which can become inflamed due to overuse or direct impact injury. This condition is usually referred to as compartment syndrome, and it could also be one of the reasons for the pain in your shins.
Shin splints, as you know by now, are the result of overworked and inflamed muscles. Let us now see what the common causes of this condition are.
These are some of the common causes that can trigger shin splints. Shin splints are also accompanied by mild to moderate symptoms. They are as listed below.
The most common symptoms are:
If you experience any of these symptoms, chances are that you have developed shin splints. But fear not, because the use of some simple ingredients available right in your kitchen can help you get rid of this condition for good. Read on to find some of the best and natural ways to treat shin splints.
A hot or cold compress
Do this every 4 hours, for about 5 days.
Both hot and cold compresses can help in alleviating the pain and inflammation caused by shin splints (1).
1 glass of unsweetened cherry juice
Drink a glass of cherry juice.
Drink this daily, especially before an intense workout session.
You must do this after every intense activity to help your muscles relax.
While the hot water helps to reduce the inflammation, the essential oil offers calming effects and helps your muscles relax (4).
Gently massaging the affected area on your lower leg can help relieve the pain caused by shin splints. For best results, use a warm compress prior to massaging. Warming the muscles will make the massage more effective and relieve the pain and inflammation. Also, it is highly recommended that you get enough rest for at least 4 to 5 days following the injury to speed up your recovery. In addition to this, you can also use a cold compress to decrease the swelling of your legs (5), (6).
Do this multiple times a day (as required).
Ginger is quite popular for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the inflammation and swelling caused by shin splints (7). In addition to this, ginger also exhibits analgesic properties, which can give quick and effective relief from the pain (8).
Vitamin D exhibits some exceptional anti-inflammatory properties. A deficiency in this vitamin can make you susceptible to inflammation and swelling from injuries. Hence, it is recommended that you get the right amount of vitamin D daily. Try to consume foods rich in vitamin D such as tuna, mackerel, oranges, soy, cheese, and eggs. However, if you are planning to take additional supplements for this condition, you can do so after consulting your doctor.
Do this at least thrice a week.
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by shin splints. It is mainly the magnesium in this salt that imparts the beneficial and analgesic activities to it (9), (10).
1/3 cup of pickle juice
Consume pickle juice before or after any intense exercise or activity.
Drink this juice once daily.
Pickle juice mainly consists of vinegar, and this makes it rich in potassium. Potassium has been used for years to combat cramps and inflammation of muscles (11), (12). This makes pickle juice one of the best cost-effective treatments for shin splints.
8 to 10 almonds
Do this one to two times daily.
Almonds are natural antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in treating the inflammation and pain caused by shin splints (13).
Do this once daily.
Apple cider vinegar is mainly composed of acetic acid that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which can help it treat shin splints (14).
You can follow this procedure 1 to 2 times a day.
Do this once daily.
Pineapples have anti-inflammatory properties. This is mainly due to the presence of an enzyme called bromelain in them, which imparts some of the most beneficial properties to pineapples, including their analgesic nature (18), (19), (20). Thus, pineapples are also one of the best and effective ways to treat shin splints and its painful symptoms easily.
Drink this 2 to 3 times daily.
Valerian is widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, this herb also exhibits analgesic and antispasmodic effects, which help the muscles of your shin to relax and reduce the pain (21), (22).
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
You can do this multiple times daily.
Coconut oil is a natural pain reliever, thanks to its analgesic properties. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and a combined effect of these activities can help you get rid of shin splints (23).
You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.
Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) contains certain compounds that exhibit analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in treating shin splints (24).
1 glass of milk
Consume a glass of milk on a daily basis.
You can do this 1 to 2 times a day.
Milk contains vitamin D that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. This can be used to treat the inflammation and swelling caused by shin splints and also accelerate your recovery (25). Additionally, milk also contains calcium, which is good for maintaining healthy bones (26).
1 to 2 bananas
Eat a banana or two daily.
Consume them on a daily basis.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potassium, as discussed before, has anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to treat the muscle inflammation that occurs as a result of shin splints. In addition to this, bananas also have the potential to increase your energy levels during exercise (27), (28).
Although all these remedies are beneficial in the treatment of shin splints, taking some precautions will aid faster recovery. Following the tips given below, along with the remedies, can help you avoid the recurrence of the condition altogether.
Including these preventive tips in your daily regimen can prove to be of great help in combating shin splints. However, if the pain that you experience is intolerable, visit your doctor immediately to check for any serious injuries to your shin. But if you are looking for a quick fix for a minor swelling or pain around your shin, go ahead with the remedies mentioned here and tell us if they worked for you by posting a comment below.
How to treat shin splints during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, shin splints can be treated naturally with the remedies mentioned above. However, pregnant women can also follow the tips mentioned below to get relief:
How long does it take for shin splints to heal?
The pain that accompanies shin splints usually vanishes in 3 to 4 weeks. Nevertheless, shin splints might take 3 to 6 months to heal completely.