Shin splints often heal on their own. If you see a doctor, expect to get a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may want to see you run to look for problems. You may also need X-rays or bone scans to look for fractures.
Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, will help with pain and swelling. These drugs can have side effects, though, like a greater chance of bleeding and ulcers. They should be used only occasionally unless your doctor says otherwise.
Use orthotics for your shoes. Shoe inserts -- which can be custom-made or bought off the shelf -- may help with arches that collapse or flatten when you stand up.
Ice your shin to ease pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days, or until the pain is gone.
Go to physical therapyto identify and treat issues in your back or legs or running mechanics that may be causing shin splints. A therapist can also help ease the pain and guide your return to sport..
Do range-of-motion exercises, if your doctor or physical therapist recommends them.
There's no way to say exactly when your shin splints will go away. It depends on what's causing them. People also heal at different rates; 3 to 6 months is not unusual.
The most important thing is not to rush back into your sport. If you start exercising before your shin splints have healed, you may hurt yourself permanently.
While you heal, you could take up a new no-impact activity that won't aggravate your shin splints. For instance, if you run, try swimming or an aggressive interval bike program.
Shin splints. You can feel this pain right up the front of your calf. The muscles and flesh along the edge of the shin bone become inflamed, so it hurts to walk, run, or jump. Doing activity over and over on hard surfaces can bring this on. You may also be more likely to get shin splints if you have flat feet or your feet turn outward.
Rest your legs to feel better. Ice helps. So can anti-inflammatory meds such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, if your doctor says these are safe for you. You can buy them over the counter.
You might want to see your doctor if the pain stays. Try not to do anything that makes your leg hurt more. Once it feels a little better, do some stretches. The next time out, wear comfortable, supportive shoes. And don't run on hard surfaces if possible.
Tendinitis. One of the first warning signs you have an inflamed Achilles tendon is pain in your lower calf, near the back of your heel. It’s a common injury that makes the tendon swell, stretch, or tear. You can get it from overworking the calf muscle or climbing the stairs. It might stick around for a long time, too.
Muscle cramp. It can strike in your sleep or in the middle of the day. This sudden, tight, intense lower leg pain is sometimes called a "charley horse." When it takes a grip, it can get worse quickly. It happens when your muscles are tired or dehydrated. Drink more water if you're prone to leg cramps.
It might help to gently stretch or massage the area where your muscle has tensed up. Stretch your legs properly before you exercise, too.
Fitness means being able to perform physical activity. It also means having the energy and strength to feel as good as possible. Getting more fit, even a little bit, can improve your health.