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Nutrition for Shin Splints

Shin splints is the term used to describe pain that manifests in the front of your lower legs or shins. MedlinePlus states that if you have shin splints, your pain is concentrated along the inside edge of your tibi — the bigger of the two bones in your lower leg. Nutritional remedies have long been used in treating shin splints, although it is always wise to first review the risks of this natural treatment method with your doctor.

Shin Splint Info

The leading cause of shin splints, states the Sports Injury Clinic website, is inflammation of your tibial periosteum — the membrane that lines the outer surface of your bones. Muscle-induced traction forces on your periosteum cause shin splint pain and inflammation. One of the most common symptoms associated with this condition is pain over the inside aspect your shin. Also common symptoms are pain that is worse when you begin exercising, the morning following exercise and pain in the affected region when you point your toes downward.

Appropriate Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional therapies, especially nutritional supplements, may be helpful in treating your shin splints. However, more scientific evidence about these nutritional supplements -- their efficacy, safety and mechanisms of action -- may be required. Nutritional supplements that help reduce inflammation and repair tissue may be most appropriate for this condition. Examples of these nutritional supplements include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, essential fatty acids, grape seed extract, proteolytic enzymes, garlic, boswellia and cat's claw, states certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing."

A Helpful Nutritional Supplement

Boswellia produces a gum used in nutritional supplements that are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments, notes Balch. Boswellia is well known for its ability to treat inflammation throughout your body, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent, and healthcare practitioners such as naturopathic physicians, herbalists and Ayurvedic practitioners have historically used it to treat muscle pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, gout and lower back pain. It is, therefore, useful for shin splints.

Additional Information

Shin splints are not a life-threatening health problem, although this musculoskeletal problem can impair your ability to perform your usual work or recreational activities and can significantly reduce your quality of life. Nutritional support in the treatment of shin splints is a natural and often effective approach, but you should always follow your doctor's advice. Avoid self-treating your shin splints with nutritional supplements until you have reviewed the benefits and drawbacks of this natural health approach.