How To Get Rid Of Shin Splints

First of all, if you are experiencing shin splints on a regular basis, you should consider consulting your primary health care provider for treatment. Whenever your body experiences pain, this is a warning sign that something may be wrong. It should not be ignored. But if your shin splints only occur very rarely, there are some simple home remedies available for you so that you can get rid of shin splints quickly.
Shin splints is a relatively common painful condition and we see patients with this injury at Mt Wellington Physiotherapy on a regular basis.

Use ice on the affected area

Shin splints can occur from a variety of very simple actions, including dancing, marching, jumping, and most commonly running or jogging. The extra force that is applied to the heel of the foot often results in a type of medial tibial (shin bone) muscle stress which leads to painful shin splints. A major contributing factor is often “flat foot” syndrome which causes these muscles to inflame due to increased tension placed on these muscles. A common treatment is the application of ice or cold packs to the affected area which can help to reduce the inflammation which is causing most of the pain. It is also recommended that you should curb the activity that created the shin splints for some time until the healing process has completely taken place.

Topical creams and anti-inflammatories

Choosing an over-the-counter ointment may be a successful temporary remedy for shin splints. There are claims that topical creams that contain menthol will help to increase blood flow to the affected area, also acting as a type of natural anesthetic treatment in the process. At our Mt Wellington physiotherapy clinic we use shin muscle massage for treatment of shin splints with very good outcomes.

Prevention Techniques

There are some simple techniques that can help prevent this uncomfortable yet common condition. For those who want to learn how to get rid of shin splints once and for all, consider taking the following actions prior to your jogging or running routine.

• Warm up in advance before participating in a stressful physical activity. Do some stretching exercises first, or perhaps start out with a slow jog or brisk walk before piling on the pressure at full force.
• Proper footwear is essential. Running shoes that are perhaps too worn-out is a very common reason why runners acquire shin splints in the first place. The best treatment and prevention plan might simply be to purchase a higher quality shoe with extra cushion and shock absorption characteristics. Also make sure to replace your shoes on a regular basis.
• If you suspect you may have flat feet – don’t panic – a very high percentage of people have some degree of excessive pronation or flat-footedness. However, if you intend on doing some running or play sport that involves running make sure that you go to a specialized sports footwear store where a trained professional (at times you might even be lucky enough to see a podiatrist there) will assist you with picking a pair of shoes that will help you to address your flat-footedness.
• Don’t overdo it, especially if you are new to the activity. This is especially the case if you’re just starting a running training programme. Build up your tolerance, endurance and speed gradually over a period of time, and ensure that you cool down afterwards with some additional stretches or slow jogging. Remember, your body needs time to adjust to the new activity. Don’t surprise it with sudden huge amounts of stress that it is not used to.

Just an important word of caution: if your shin pain has been around for a while and doesn’t seem to be improving, or when you start to notice pain as soon as you start your walk or run (not later on during your run) there is a chance you may have a stress fracture. This is certainly less common then your usual inflammatory shin splints, however this is a very serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. So if you suspect that your shin pain behaves this way please see your physiotherapist or doctor as soon as possible.

The best advice for how to get rid of shin splints is to prevent them from happening in the first place by following the above advice. However, a simple ice pack treatment, some topical creams, or massage can help to provide some temporary relief. At Mt Wellington Physiotherapy we treat this common sports injury and welcome you to see us if you need help with making it go away. Call us on 09-5328942 to get a FREE no-obligation assessment.

Are you doing the right thing for your calf injury?

You may have recently injured your calf playing some form of high impact sport. If you’re a regular sports player then it’s most likely you’ve experienced some form of calf or muscle injury before. For example you may have been playing a game of football when all of a sudden you feel a snap and you can’t move forward any more, this can be extremely painful and it’s of the utmost importance you keep your calf correctly treated to reduce the impact of this injury. Here is some essential calf injury treatment advice to keep you fit and healthy.

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
This is standard in all first aid and medical aid training and is often referred to as RICE. First and foremost make sure you are resting the injured leg, do not exert any form of pressure on the injury as this may cause it to become worse. Second is ice, apply some form of cold application to the injured area. Make sure you wrap the ice in a wet towel before applying it onto your calf. Applying ice straight onto your skin may cause ice burns. Compression, make sure that the affect area has cold compressions, so in other words you hold the ice tightly against the affected calf. Alternatively, you can use elastic sports bandages applied firmly to the calf area. This helps to minimise swelling. Lastly, make sure your leg is elevated as this reduces swelling.

It’s imperative that you take all pressure off you calf and heel, you can do this by purchasing heel lifts from your local sports store, these are a great help to ease the strain on your muscles. Mild calf injuries may not always need this.

After care
Once the swelling has started to subside you then need to look at some form of after care for your injury. You can wrap the calf muscle with a special calf support that will help to support the muscle and keep the area warm and comfortable. This helps to keep the heat in and keeps the muscles from cramping up again which can cause severe after pain. It’s important that your leg is comfortable at all times, so if you feel to much pressure or pain then loosen the dressing. Remember you need to avoid applying heat to the area for at least 72 hours following the injury.
You may then need to start a specially designed exercise programme to stretch and strengthen the calf muscle. This is best done under a supervision of a fully qualified physiotherapist.

Prescription Drugs
We advise you consult with your doctor regarding taking any anti-inflammatory or pain medication.

calf injury physiotherapyIt may be necessary for you at some point to have physiotherapy for your injury, this is highly recommended especially if you’re a regular sports player or you have a serious calf injury. BodyFit Physio in Howick offer a full 100% outstanding level of service or money back guarantee on physiotherapy services. You can also have a chat with us on our facebook page – use private messaging for privacy reasons.
We wish you all the best with getting your injury fixed and hope you can get back to your fitness routine or sports field soon.

Check out our other blogs on health related topics with essential information that you may find very interesting:

Knee Pain: Can You Touch Your Toes?

With the Auckland Marathon still very fresh in our memories I can’t help but notice how many runners with knee pain that I have seen in the clinic over the last 2 weeks had really tight hamstrings. I mean, really tight… not even close to being able to touch your toes. Hamstring tightness is one of the major factors causing knee problems, in particular a common debilitating condition known as “runner’s knee” or termed by us “patellofemoral pain syndrome”.1

Hamstring stiffness is probably one of the easiest problems to address and fix. All you need to do is stretch regularly, preferable every day aiming gradually to be able to comfortably touch your toes while you are sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front. This will lower your risk of getting knee pain and other running injuries.

Some of you often ask me: “How long do I hold a stretch for?”. Current clinical studies do not give a definitive answer, however we recommend to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat it twice daily. What we do know is that static stretching (when you hold a stretch) is more effective than dynamic stretching when you do a bouncing motion.2

This will only take about a minute of your time a day but if you’re serious about your running or simply staying fit and healthy this may save you from that annoying knee pain!

Download your file with instructions on how to do your hamstring stretches from here.

To get your FREE report “Do you make these 5 mistakes with your running?” please click on this link.


1. Waryasz GRMcDermott AY. (2008). Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS): a systematic review of anatomy and potential risk factors. Dynamic Medicine, Jun 26; 7:9.

2. Covert CAAlexander MPPetronis JJDavis DS. (2010). Comparison of ballistic and static stretching on hamstring muscle length using an equal stretching dose. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Nov; 24(11):3008-14.

4 Great Injury Prevention Tips for Runners

Many of you enjoying running as an effective way of keeping fit and healthy. However, running exposes you to a number of potential injuries, especially those involving the lower limbs. So to help you stay moving and injury-free, here are 4 Tips from the team at BodyFit Physiotherapy

Injury Tip One – Increase Slowly:
Many people get excited by the start of a new winter sports season. However, they get so impatient at their slow progress that they go from 3 months on the couch to attempting a marathon in 4 weeks. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you increase your running and training times by small increments only. A 5 -10% increase in either distance or time each week is plenty, and will more likely keep you pain-free. One of the biggest predictors of injury in runners is rapidly increasing training volume – the more training you do, the greater the risk. It is simple maths.
Injury Tip Two – Check your Shoes:
Many people also get excited about starting a training program. However, they make the mistake of grabbing their favourite pair of Dunlop Volleys (a favourite shoe worn by roof tilers – not marathoners) and then wonder why they get foot, knee and leg pain 2 weeks into their program. Make sure you get a good pair of running shoes BEFORE you start your training program. Unfortunately for your bank balance, you do get what you pay for when it comes to running shoes.
Injury Tips Three – Watch out for Hills:
Many new runners get injuries due to following a route that has too many hills in it. Hill running is a great training tool, but hills also place incredible demands on the joints of the lower body, and can accelerate injury risk in certain people, in particular knee injuries. Try to stay on the flat for the first few months, and then add some hills in as your fitness improves. It is better to be running on the flat than not running at all.
Injury Tip Four – Get a Check-Up
We mentioned a moment ago that one of the biggest predictors of injury is training volume. The other biggest predictor is past injury history. At BodyFit, we’re amazed at the number of previously-injured people who do not have any treatment or assessment before starting their next season’s training . The injury may have left some scar tissue, reduced range of movement, or caused muscle weakness that will greatly increase injury risk once training resumes. If you come to BodyFit physiotherapy in Howick for a check-up, we can assess your risk of any injury reoccurring,  and help you to minimise that risk over the coming season.

Are Warm-Ups Worth the Effort?

Most physiotherapists, personal trainers and coaches firmly believe that a good warm-up is essential to reduce your chance of injury, and prepare your body for the activities to follow. But has this injury reduction benefit actually been proven in science?

Warm Up
In a recent research review published in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, academics from Monash University in Melbourne reviewed studies that looked at this question. Surprisingly, over the past 40 years, only a handful studies have looked at the injury reduction benefit of a warm-up.
Of the five studies examined, three supported using a warm-up to reduce injury, whilst the remaining two did not.
The Monash researchers went on to conclude that:

  • The three positive studies emphasised general exercise to increase body temperature, while the two negative studies focused on stretching warm-ups.
  • There wasn’t enough evidence to either conclusively endorse or recommend against routine pre-exercise warm-ups to prevent sports injuries. However, the weight of evidence suggested that warm-ups involving general exercise did decrease injury risk.
  • Further support for warm-ups comes from a more recent 2008 Norwegian study. This concluded that a warm-up programme reduced the risk of severe injuries, overuse injuries, and injuries overall.

Despite the lack of research material, we still suggest that you complete a thorough pre-exercise warm-up, which should involve:

  • 5-20 minutes in total.
  • General activity to increase your basic body temperature, followed by some more specific range-of-motion stretching that replicates the events to follow.
  • A series of balance-related activities to prepare your sensory receptors for the tasks to follow.
  • Gradually increasing intensity that becomes more specific and “game-like” as the training session or game approaches.

For assistance with your pre-exercise warm-up talk to one of our physiotherapists at BodyFit Howick.

Is Your Bad Posture Causing Your Back Pain?

Neck and back pain is one of the most common conditions affecting us all. A huge proportion of these problems relate directly to poor sitting habits or bad posture. This is especially common among people with sedentary or desk jobs.

correct postureHere is a checklist of things you need to ensure when you’re sitting at the computer. This will significantly lower your risk of developing posture-related discomfort.

  • Top of computer screen at eye level;
  • Elbows at about 90 degrees;
  • Ergonomic chair must have lumbar support (or a little curve that helps to support your lower back);
  • Keyboard is kept at about elbow height;
  • Wrists are straight when typing;
  • Feet flat on the floor or foot rest;
  • Never sit on the edge of your chair.

Tennis Elbow: What is it? And how to make it go away?

Most people have either heard of tennis elbow or even experienced this debilitating condition themselves. In this article I just wanted to do a quick overview of what this condition actually is, what causes it and what are the best ways to treat it. It is known under different names such as lateral epicondylitis, elbow tendinosis and extensor tendinopathy. This is an overuse, degenerative condition of the tendon on the outside of the elbow caused by excessive quick, monotonous, repetitive contractions and gripping activities of the wrist. It occurs in about 1-3% of people, however it is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 60. It is as common in men as it is in women. There is usually reduced grip strength and pain in the elbow area. The symptoms can last for up to 2 years. To date, there is no proven single ideal treatment for tennis elbow.
A number of various treatment techniques are employed by physiotherapists and other health professionals to treat pain associated with tennis elbow. By far the most effective way of physiotherapy treatment is physical exercise involving strengthening and stretching exercises. Of all possible therapies for tennis elbow exercise has the most clinical evidence and proof of being effective. You are able to find a video demonstration of this type of physiotherapy exercise programme by clicking on the video link below.

Physiotherapy Tennis Elbow Eccentric Strength Exercises

Please note that if you are suffering from elbow pain, it is essential to see a health professional first to confirm the diagnosis of tennis elbow before commencing these exercises. Apart from exercise, acupuncture and manipulation can help to relieve pain over a short period of time. However, these treatment methods don’t seem to be significantly effective in the long run (beyond 6 weeks from the date of treatment). Both acupuncture and manipulation can be used in physiotherapy to make exercising more comfortable, thus maximising the benefit of strengthening.
One of the most important factors influencing recovery is avoidance of aggravating activities such as lifting, grasping, playing racquet sports or any other movements that produce pain in the elbow. In the case of tennis, badminton or squash it often helps to adjust the grip size of the racquet handle (i.e. increasing the diameter of the handle may help to alleviate some of the symptoms triggered by playing these sports). Unfortunately for a number of people suffering from tennis elbow their occupational activities may involve some of these aggravating movements. It is therefore crucial to modify these activities aiming to minimise or eliminate pain. In cases when this is not possible or when the pain persists, we recommend using tennis elbow braces (click here to see what it looks like) that you can use around the elbow. This helps to take some strain off the troublesome area and avoid re-aggravations.
For further advice please contact our friendly physiotherapy team.

Mt Wellington Physiotherapy Located at
CLM Fitness, 45C Mt Wellington Highway, Mt Wellington, Auckland.
Phone: 09-5328942