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While shin splints are not a serious injury, they can slow a runner down and cause enough pain to make exercise and recreation very painful. Many kinds of shin splint supports are available, however, and can help reduce the pain, speed up the healing process and prevent further damage. Some of the different types of shin splint supports include calf sleeves, calf supports, shin splint compression wraps and sleeves, and heel and arch supports.
Each type of shin splint support works in a different way. The calf sleeve, for example, is designed to be light and comfortable enough for runners to wear on every job to help reduce the chances of getting shin splints in the first place. On the other hand, a calf support can help warm areas that are already affected by the injury, while also providing support and compression. Wraps, sleeves and other shin splint supports that provide compression are said to help minimize the chances of further damage and to allow the existing damage to heal. Some shin splint devices can also hold cold or hot compresses in place.
Of course, someone who has suffered a shin splint can also hold a heating pad or ice pack against the injured leg. Experts recommend holding an ice pack against the injured shin for stretches of 15 to 20 minutes to help with healing. Another easy solution to reduce swelling is for the shin splint sufferer to elevate his or her legs whenever possible. If the pain becomes too intense, over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help to take the edge off the pain and reduce swelling. Besides shin splint supports, sufferers can even use crutches if the pain ever becomes too great for even walking.
For most runners and other athletes, perhaps the best way to deal with shin splints is not to use shin splint supports but to avoid getting the condition in the first place. One way to avoid getting shin splints is to make sure to replace running shoes every 250 to 500 miles (402.3 to 804.7 km). If runners have flat feet, they might also try placing arch supports in their shoes. Shin stretches are another way to prevent shin splints. Stretching can make the muscles and tendons in the lower legs more durable, flexible and strong.