What are Shin Splints?
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, or “Shin Splints” describes a feeling of pain along or behind the inner edge of the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg below the knee.
What Causes Shin Splints?
Shin Splints tend to develop after intensely repetitive activity, such as vigorous running or intense sports. These repetitive actions can lead to an inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the tibia, causing shin and knee pain.
How to Avoid Shin Splints
Wearing a quality pair of shoes with good arch support can help patients avoid Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, or at least make it less likely to occur. Making sure to maintain proper form while running and avoiding running on hard surfaces also lowers the risk of getting shin splints. Warming up, stretching, maintaining proper form while running, and avoiding running on hard surfaces also lowers the risk of developing shin splints. The best strategy when dealing with overuse injuries involves pacing yourself and allowing yourself to rest.
Risk factors of Shin Splints
Shin Splints most often occur in:
- Athletes starting a new training regimen
- New runners, or runners pushing themselves harder than usual
- Runners on rough terrain, or running on pavement
- People with flat feet or fallen arches
How Do You Treat Shin Splints
Patients can most likely treat their Shin splints at home with a combination of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, as well as over the counter anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen.
Taking a break from the activity that causes your shin splints to flair up can allow the tissues to heal. Icing the injury on and off helps reduce inflammation. Wrapping the swollen leg with a compression sleeve can help minimize the swelling, which reduces pain and irritation. Elevating the legs above your heart while resting will also keep inflammation down. It may be time to visit your lower extremity orthopedic specialist if the shin splints do not resolve on their own.