Shin splints, more commonly referred to as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), are an even more infuriating experience when we consider that shin splint cures can be exceptionally easy! Various foolproof treatment plans are available today, including an extremely popular method involving cold packs and other little-known treatments.
Thankfully, using a cold pack as part of your treatment plan is one option that is both inexpensive and easily accessible for anyone at home or in the clinic!
Although MTSS treatments appear mostly simple, it's usually best to consult your physician or healthcare professional to ensure you're doing things correctly.
Cold Therapy for Shin Splints
Shin splints are a common ailment caused by overuse. They tend to appear after repeated stress and pressure on the shins, which eventually leads to inflammation. Many athletes suffer from the injury due to their intense sports routines - basketball players, dancers, and runners are among the most susceptible. If you begin getting shin splints, two main treatments can help you recover: cold therapy (using cold packs) or hot therapy with a Microwavable Aromatherapy Hot/Cold Sack.
When cold is applied to the skin for periods, it causes vasoconstriction or tightening of blood vessels. When vessels are constricted, less blood flow moves through them, reducing inflammation and pain. Cold therapy is one great treatment option when used with rest, compression, stretching, and advice from a sports medicine professional, as well as some ice packs or cooling gel packs, depending on your circumstances as an individual.
Is it Better to use Heat or cold for Shin Splints?
It's best to give the muscles and tissue a cold pack in the early stages of shin splints. Cold therapy will help with the inflammation related to this condition and alleviate any pain associated with these symptoms. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that your doctor may also prescribe. Choose a brand guaranteed not to upset your stomach or affect its ability to absorb necessary nutrients after injury. It's also important to wear compression sleeves, as they take some pressure off your lower leg so that it can heal properly.
After the initial injury phase has passed, you can apply Heat to your lower leg for about three days with things like herbal heating pads or hot towels. The Heat will bring more blood to the area and loosen tight muscles.
Different Uses for Heat and Cold Therapy for shin splints
Heat and cold therapy are both commonly used to treat shin splints, but they have different effects and are used at different stages of the injury.
Cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation and pain. It can be applied to the affected area with an ice pack, cold compress, or ice bath. Cold therapy should be applied for 20 minutes several times a day.
SACKSY THYME COLD THERAPY PAD for Shin Splints:
The SACKSY THYME COLD THERAPY PAD is a specially designed pad that can be used for cold therapy to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with shin splints. This pad is made of high-quality materials that can retain cold temperatures for an extended period. The pad is easy to use and fits perfectly around the shin, providing targeted cold therapy to the affected area.
Heat therapy is used to increase blood flow and promote healing. It can be applied to the affected area with a hot pack, heating pad, or warm bath. Heat therapy should be applied for 15-20 minutes several times daily.
SACKSY THYME Microwavable Heat Therapy Pad for Shin SplintsThe SACKSY THYME microwavable heat therapy pad is an excellent option for people suffering from shin splints. This pad is designed to provide targeted heat therapy to the affected area, which can help to reduce inflammation and ease pain. When heated, the pad emits a soothing warmth that penetrates deep into the muscle tissue, promoting relaxation and improving circulation.
When to use cold therapy for shin splints:
- Cold therapy is the best option in the first 24-48 hours after the injury.
- If the shin splints are caused by overuse, cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Cold therapy can also help to numb the pain and make it easier to move around.
When to use heat therapy for shin splints:
- After the initial inflammation has subsided, heat therapy can promote healing.
- Heat therapy can also help to relax muscles and relieve tightness.
- If tight muscles cause shin splints, heat therapy can help to loosen the muscles and reduce pain.
It is important to note that heat therapy should not be used if the shin splints are accompanied by redness, swelling, or warmth. In these cases, cold therapy should be used to reduce inflammation.
In addition to Heat and cold therapy, there are other things you can do to treat shin splints, such as:
- Resting from the activity that caused the shin splints.
- Stretching and strengthening the muscles in your legs.
- Wearing supportive shoes.
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
If you have shin splints that are not improving with home treatment, you should see a doctor.
Why Cold Therapy is Best for Shin Splints
Cold therapy is best for shin splints because it helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or damage, and it can cause pain, swelling, redness, and warmth. Cold therapy constricts blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the injured area and slowing the inflammatory response. This helps to reduce pain and swelling, making it easier for the body to heal.
In addition to reducing inflammation, cold therapy can help numb the pain and make it easier to move around. This can be helpful if the shin splints are causing pain that makes it difficult to walk or run.
Cold therapy should be applied to the affected area for 20 minutes daily. You can use an ice pack, cold compress, or ice bath. Wrap the ice pack in a towel to protect your skin.
It is important to note that heat therapy should not be used for shin splints in the first 24-48 hours after the injury. Heat therapy can increase blood flow to the injured area, which can make the inflammation worse.
If you have shin splints, it is important to rest from the activity that caused the injury. You should also stretch and strengthen the muscles in your legs. Wearing supportive shoes can also help to prevent shin splints.
If you have shin splints that are not improving with home treatment, you should see a doctor.
Here are some other tips for treating shin splints with cold therapy:
Apply the ice pack or cold compress directly to the affected area.
Do not apply the ice pack for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Take breaks between applications of the ice pack.
Do not put the ice pack directly on your skin. Wrap it in a towel first.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about using cold therapy.
When is Cold Therapy Not an Option?
Think of cold therapy as a Band-Aid; it is not the cure. It will cover the pain but is not the ultimate way to treat shin splints. You need to look at your injury comprehensively and not just one area. It would help to overcome it completely by treating it from multiple modalities.
The shin splints are common and extremely painful, causing various symptoms - from mild pain to debilitating swelling and inflammation. There are various options when treating shin splints, such as steroids, injections, or medications - but what type is right for you? Consider speaking with your doctor to find the treatment that best suits your needs. If you have decided to add cold therapy to your daily routine, make sure not to use it if you are experiencing any contraindications indicated by cold therapy use:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Vascular disease
- Cold Therapy Techniques
When you're suffering from shin splints, it's natural to try to find the best way to relieve the pain and swelling. You could go through all the options independently or consult a health or physical therapist to help narrow down what might work best for you. While some methods of delivery don't offer as much relief as others due to how inconvenient they are, some may be more helpful than others when it comes to getting rid of inflammation in the tissue.
When most people think of healing a fractured shin, they will first and foremost reach for a cold pack. Cold packs are reusable freeze-able gel, often contained in a bag that you can place on your leg, and it will do the job fine. You'll look for a cold pack that remains stretchy when frozen, so you can easily slip it over your calf to ease the pain.Cold therapy packs are a great staple for any injury to the shins, regardless of whether it's broken or otherwise.
If you ever feel pain in your lower legs due to shin splints, try using massage balls as a portable option that you can use on the go. You might be surprised at how effective they are in relieving this condition by delivering cold therapy and providing trigger point massage. Using these methods can help in combination with anyone suffering from shin splints.
Ice Therapy Machine
If you need some serious cold therapy treatments to help relieve inflammation and pain due to shin splints, you should consider Therapy Machine. This machine is not portable like most other ice packs, but it will relieve the painful area and your leg muscles more effectively than an ice pack, as it can deliver constant cold. It comes equipped with an ergonomic pad (which contours to the body), secured using adjustable straps, and has a water tank that one can fill with ice or cold water. The water passes through tubes from the tank to the foam pad at a steady rate of your preference.
One of the best features of a topical cooling gel is it's portable! Since topical gels cool the skin and reduce muscle pain, you can apply them to your calves for about 30 minutes of relief wherever you are. Look for something easy to use, like a spray or gel that won't stain clothing, to help you deal with stinging, tingling, or cramping anywhere on your body quickly and easily.
A simple way to get around this is by turning your shower into an ice bath - it may not be the most portable form of icing, but it's one of the easiest! By filling up a medium-sized container (like a big bucket) with cold water and lots of ice cubes, you can secure your lower leg with ice for 20 minutes at a time and reap all the benefits that come with it.
Using Ice + Massage for Shin Splints
A combination of ice therapy and massage makes up the ultimate way to treat shin splints pain-free. Ice is most effective for numbing peripheral nerves, reducing inflammation, and promoting blood flow. These factors make ice perfect for those with shin pain. Massaging tight muscles can reduce stress levels, sometimes inhibiting your range of motion. By relieving muscle tension, you can also relieve shin splint pain. One of the main reasons loose muscles contribute to shin splint pains is adhesions that form in the muscle tissue and surrounding connective tissues. Not working these out regularly through gentle relaxation techniques could mean painful cramps.
Deep tissue massage is something you can do for yourself at home. However, if this is out of your expertise or comfort zone, you should seek the help of a professional who can bring deep tissue massage to you, whether in a salon or on location, such as your own office.
Icing Safely & Effectively
Be sure to speak with a medical professional before icing your shin splints because icing can lead to serious injury when done incorrectly. Cold packs, ice wraps, cold baths, and other methods of cold therapy deliver a numbing pain common for people suffering from shin splints. These treatments can help you heal faster, so you can return to all the activities you love.