Shin Splints

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms of shin splints, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What are Shin Splints?

The tibia, also known as the shin, is the large bone in the front of your leg under your knee. When overworked, inflammation and micro-tears in the tissues surrounding the shins occur, causing shin splints. This condition can also be called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). MTSS is common in runners and other athletes. If not properly treated, this injury can lead to a tibial stress fracture which is a lot more severe and can put athletes out of commission for an extended period of time. Learn about how to prevent and treat MTSS here:

Causes of Shin Splints

MTSS is common in athletes and those who are always on the move. Here are other common causes that aggravate this injury: 

  • Level of sport higher than fitness level: Those who jump into a new sport quickly or up their workouts too quickly are prone to inflaming their shins. 
  • Runners: Shin splints are especially common in runners because of the constant pounding on the legs. 
  • Training on uneven terrain: Concrete or other hard surfaces hurt athletes legs 
  • Foot shape: Feet that turn in or out excessively while stepping out, flat feet, or high arches are bone structures that obstruct balance.

Symptoms of Shin Splints

Pain is a telltale sign of MTSS. Other symptoms of this condition include: 

  • Throbbing pain on the tibia: Shooting pain on the tibia or sides of the tibia
  • Tenderness: Inflammation near the ankles and shins
  • Pain during activity: Patients with shin splints tend only to experience pain during running or highly intensive activities. If you have the same throbbing aggravation much longer after exercise, you may have a stress fracture. 

Treating Shin Splints

Resting from your activity is the best way to treat MTSS. However, this injury can be prevented altogether with proper training techniques. Here’s how: 

Prevention: 

  • Proper sports technique: Athletes should ensure to warm up and cool down properly. Here are some dynamic warm-up stretches you can complete to prevent shin splints. 
  • Running on softer surfaces: Running on grass, sand, or a track cushions the legs to absorb more shock. 
  • Proper Footwear: Wearing cushioned training shoes for your specific activity can prevent shin splints. 

Treatment 

  • Rest: Resting from your activity until pain subsides can be the best form of treatment for shin splints. 
  • Use an ice pack: Ice the shins for 10-15 minutes at a time 3x per day to reduce inflammation. 
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication: Ibuprofen or Advil can reduce inflammation around the shins. Using these medications should only be a short-term solution. 
  • Stretching exercises or physical therapy: Stretches or physical therapy recommended by our office can help heal the tissues around the tibia.
  • Orthotic inserts in shoes for better support: Cushioned insoles or customized orthotic inserts will provide better support during the healing process.
Shin splints

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