Have you ever been driving through Toronto traffic and the front of your shins start to ache and burn? Well, you may have had shin splints.
Whenever we hear about shin splints we automatically think about athletes like runners or soccer players. Not very often do professional truck drivers come to mind. However, due to their work demands, many truck drivers will suffer from shin splints at some point during their career.
‘Shin splints’ is a general term used to describe a condition which causes pain along the shin bone or tibia. This bone is located in the front of your lower leg. The pain is caused when the muscles in the shin are over-used, causing stress and irritation of the shin bone and connective tissues.
For truck drivers, continuous operation of the clutch or gas pedal is the major cause of shin splints. Situations such as stop-and-go traffic or driving through the mountains or hills may put too much strain on the muscles of the shin, leading to shin splints.
The major symptom is tenderness, pain or soreness along the outer part of your lower leg. Mild swelling may also be present. In most cases, the pain will go away once you stop driving or get out of the truck. However, if the condition progresses the pain may become continuous.
The good news is that most causes of shin splints can be cured by rest and home remedies. In addition to rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications as well as ice are very effective in reducing pain and swelling. A good general rule is to apply ice for 10 minutes at a time, and repeat between five and seven times per day for one week.
It is also very important to wear proper shoes which provide adequate shock absorption and support. For truck drivers who are suffering from shin splints, I always recommend that they limit their continuous driving time to two to three hours if possible.
Getting out of your truck and walking around for five or 10 minutes is a sufficient break. Although this may not seem like a significant amount time, it will be enough to stretch out and relax the muscles in your legs. If your symptoms continue to worsen for longer than a week or your shin appears to be hot and inflamed, it’s important that you seek medical help as soon as possible. Shin splints are not a life-threatening condition. However, in severe cases it can be very debilitating for a truck driver. •
-Dr. Chris Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News