Shin splints are a common exercise-related problems. The term “shin splints” refers to pain along the inner edge of the shinbone(tibia).
Shin splints typically develop after physical activity. They are often associated with running. Any vigorous sports activity can bring on shin splints, especially if you are just starting a fitness program.
Simple measures can relieve the pain of shin splints. Rest, ice, and stretching often help. Taking care not to overdo your exercise routine will help prevent shin splints from coming back.
Shin splints is a term which can include a number of diagnosis or causes and is not an actual injury or diagnosis in itself.
It is the name athletes often give to pain along the inside of the shin bone. Medial tibial stress syndrome or medial tibial traction periostitis is a more accurate description of what is usually going on.
The muscles of the lower leg pull on the periosteum or sheath surrounding the shin bone causing pain and inflammation. This an over use injury resulting form increasing running mileage too quickly, excessive training on hard surfaces and running on your toes as in sprinting repetitions.
Certain biomechanical factors such as over pronation (rolling in) of the feet may be seen or particularly tight calf muscles can increase the likelihood of developing shin pain.
Medial tibial stress syndrome is the most common cause of shin pain which people generally refer to as shin splints. It is primarily an over use injury where repetitive strain causes traction forces on the sheath surrounding the bone resulting in pain and inflammation.
Although too much running, jumping or sprinting is the obvious cause, there are a number of factors which can increase the likelihood of shin pain developing.
Overpronation occurs when the foot roots inwards too much flattening the arch of the foot and causing the lower leg to rotate inwards.
Oversupination is where the foot rolls outwards too much during the time the foot is in contact with the ground.
Inadequate footwear such as the wrong type of shoe for your running style or running shoes that are just too old and have lost their support and cushioning can cause injury.
Increasing training too quickly is one of the more common causes of shin splints.
Poor flexibility at the ankle can cause increased stress on the soft tissues, muscles and tendons of the lower leg when running.
People with shin splints will experience some of the following symptoms:
. A dull ache in the front part of the lower leg
. Pain that develops during exercise
. Pain on either side of the shin bone
. Muscle pain
. Pain along the inner part of the lower leg
. Tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
. Swelling in the lower leg(usually mild, if present)
. Numbness and weakness in the feet
See you doctor if you shin splints don’t respond to common treatment methods or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
.severe pain in your shin after a fall or accident
.a shin that feels hot
.a shin that’s visibly swollen
.pain in your shins even when you’re resting.
After discussing your symptoms and medical history, you doctor will examine your lower leg. An accurate diagnosis is very important. Sometimes, other problems may exist that can have an impact on healing.
Your doctor may order further imaging tests to rule out other shin problems. Specialized tests( bone scans for example)are generally only necessary if the diagnosis is unclear.
Several conditions can cause shin pain, including fractures, tendinitis and chronic exertional compartment syndrome.
Treating shin splints involves reducing pain and inflammation, identifying and correcting training errors and biomechanical problems and restoring muscles to their original condition through stretching, exercises and massage.
The PRICE principles consist of protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce initial pain and inflammation. Applying a cold therapy and compression wrap to painful area of the shin for can help the symptoms improve.
Rest-avoid running, jumping or any other activities which make symptoms worse.
Protect and support the area with a shin splint sleeve or compression support. This helps keep the muscles warm and supple as well as providing support to the inflamed tissues.
The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen in the early or acute stage(not to take if you have asthma) and orthotic insoles to correct biomechanical problems of the foot may be prescribed.
Sports massage can be used to reduce tension in the muscles of the lower leg which may be causing traction on the bone.
Exercises to stretch the muscles of the lower leg are important, in particular calf stretching exercises will stretch the tibialis posterior muscle which is often associated with shin pain.
The above article serves only as reference. Kindly refer to your primary care provider for complete consultation and treatment.
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