Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome. It is a common condition that affects athletes, runners, and individuals who engage in high-impact activities. It is characterized by pain along the inner edge of the shin bone (tibia), with pain ranging from mild to severe. In this blog post, we will discuss what shin splints are, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Causes of Shin Splints:
Shin splints occur when the muscles and tendons surrounding the shin bone become inflamed or overused. Some of the common causes of shin splints include:
- Overuse: Overuse is the most common cause of shin splints. Athletes or individuals who engage in high-impact activities such as running or jumping are more likely to develop pain.
- Flat feet: Individuals with flat feet have an increased risk of developing shin pain. This is because flat feet cause the muscles in the feet and legs to work harder, leading to increased stress on the shin bone.
- Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support can lead to the development of shin splints.
- Poor running form: Running with poor form, such as landing on the balls of the feet instead of the heels, can cause a muscular imbalance that can lead to pain.
Symptoms of Shin Splints:
The most common symptom is pain along the inner edge of the shin bone. The pain can be dull or sharp and may worsen during or after activity. Other symptoms include:
- Swelling in the lower leg
- Tenderness or soreness in the affected area
- Weakness or numbness in the feet or legs
- Difficulty walking or running
The treatment plan depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, shin splints can be treated with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication. Some of the common treatment options include:
- Rest: Rest is the most important treatment. Individuals should avoid activities that cause pain and inflammation until the symptoms improve.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Ice should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Compression: Wearing compression socks or bandages can help reduce swelling and improve circulation.
- Stretching: Stretching the muscles in the feet and legs can help reduce the risk of developing shin splints. It is important to stretch before and after exercise.
- Orthotics: Wearing shoe inserts or custom orthotics can help provide support to the feet and help decrease the load on your feet and lower legs during high impact activity.
- Soft Tissue Therapy: Soft Tissue Therapy to decrease the tension in the muscles of the anterior compartment and surrounding tissue can help alleviate the symptoms.
- Rehab Exercises: Exercises can help strengthen the muscles in the feet and legs, improve flexibility, and reduce your risk of irritating the medial tibia.
The best way to prevent shin splints is to balance the muscular forces on the shin bone. Other preventative methods include:
- Wearing proper footwear: Wearing shoes that provide adequate support will providing the cushioning needed to protect the foot and lower leg.
- Gradual increase in activity: Focus on increasing activity gradually and building on your current fitness routine.
- Proper form: Proper running form, such as landing mid foot instead of the balls of the feet, can help reduce the forces on the calf muscles.
- Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises for the muscles in the feet and legs can help reduce the risk of developing shin splints.