Most athletes get shin splints — pain and tenderness along the shinbone, accompanied by mild swelling. Professional athletes, fresh into a season, get them. Army recruits suffer shin splints . The condition typically occurs after a few weeks of training and it is common after an increase in intensity of exercise.

Shin splints are a badge of honour for athletes: they show you give it all during training . But, shin splints are as likely to reflect poor technique, overly hard playing surfaces, worn out shoes and flat feet . Shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) represent small tears in the muscles where they attach to the shinbone. Most cases require nothing more than RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression bandage, Elevation of affected limb), and an anti-inflammatory drug. However, if the shin feels painful even after RICE, see a doctor.

Easing back into exercise gradually can prevent recurrence of shin splints. Wearing the right shoes helps. Keep count of the distance you cover daily: after 500 km, it is time to get a new pair, even if the old one looks new. Increase training intensity and duration gradually. Mix regular exercise with cross training that is easy on the shins, like swimming and cycling. The toe raise will strengthen leg muscles.

RAJIV. M.

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