- Life Style
Anyone who has ramped up their fitness routine has had to deal with muscle aches and pains--and, in some cases, exercise-related injuries. These injuries are not always due to improper training, but what you do in the gym room or the fitness studio is an important factor in preventing--or causing--these injuries.
Fortunately most fitness injuries are easily detected, diagnosed and treated.
One of the most common fitness-related injuries that fitness instructors and gym-trainers face with their clients is a condition named periostitis, also known as "shin splints": an inflammation in the front of the lower leg.
The condition starts with a sensation of pain on the outer side of the leg that is extremely sensitive to touch and pressure. Although it feels like the muscles in that area are the ones affected, it is actually the tibia bone (the inner and larger bone of the leg below the knee) that is the problem.
It is thought the condition can be caused by microscopic fractures due to heavy pressure and impact on the tibia during exercise. Ignoring this pain and continuing your daily workout without treating the condition will exacerbate the condition.
The good news is that it is extremely rare for the condition to pose a serious health risk, and the usual symptoms are limited to pain during the first ten minutes of the training session, touch-sensitivity, swelling, and discomfort.
You may be wondering, however, how you developed the condition in the first place.
There are many theories as to what exactly causes periostitis, but rather less agreement. Running on multiple and different surfaces, such as switching between the sidewalk, sandy streets and rocky ones, can be one element causing this condition. Therefore, running around Zamalek and Garden City, with their broken and unorganized sidewalks, might be one of the reasons you are feeling pain in your lower leg.
Fans of advanced step classes are also one of the main fitness groups to suffer from this painful condition. Running, jumping and stepping on the hard surfaces of both the studio floor and the step itself can lead to the condition.
Treating the condition is an easy process but might require some vacation time from the gym room.
Remember "RICE": Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. This is the way to treat most minor sports injuries.
Resting the injured limb is the first advice you should receive from your personal trainer, but don't worry about the impact on your fitness schedule--you won’t need to put away your sports shoes for more than a week.
Applying ice on the painful section helps to relieve the discomfort, but don't apply the ice for more than 10-15 minutes, two or three times a day.
Compression, in the case of shin splints is not advisable, but elevating the injured limb--by putting your legs on a pillow during sleep--is extremely helpful.
As for preventing the problem, stretching is an important tactic.
Failing to stretch your muscles prior to and after your workout can result in a number of problems. Stretching helps the muscles to relax and be ready for exercise, and also helps to release the toxins that build inside your muscles during exercise. If you don't stretch before your workout they will be tensed all of a sudden, and this can be extremely harmful.
Finally, if you are facing an advanced case of the shin splints, there are two more solutions to deal with the problem.
Firstly, consider changing your footwear to more comfortable sports shoes that have either "Air support" (available at the larger sportswear chains), or arch support for your feet.
Secondly, applying an anti-inflammatory gel can significantly help in speeding the recovery and fixing the problem.