What Are Shin Splints?
Shin Splints is a general term used to refer to a painful condition in the shin. Pain is usually predominate along the inside border of the tibia bone, however sometimes it is associated with pain on the outside of the leg. It is a common injury that affects athletes who engage in running sports or physical activity. This condition is characterised by pain in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle. Shin splints can range from mild to severe pain. Known in the medical realm as medial tibial stress syndrome, this problem often affects athletes that have intensified or modified their fitness routines. Due to the increase in activity, pain is caused from overworked muscles, tendons, and bone issue.
While shin splits can result in temporary immobility, there are several treatment options available. The most common are icing the affected areas, as well as rest and other self-care measures. According to medical experts, wearing proper and effective footwear is a great way to alleviate the pain and tension associated with shin splits. Altering your exercise and training routines can also eradicate the pain.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Tightness and/or tenderness along the shins that comes on with a specific activity – especially running or walking for long distances. The pain usually settles upon resting. Shin pain is most common with people who are new to running or walking for physical fitness.
There are several symptoms associated with shin splits. The most common include sharp and steady pain up and down the shinbone. This pain can also radiate as high as the kneecaps. At times, however, general muscle tension can emulate the pain. Elimination of other concerns is often critical in getting the treatment plan to be successful. Often more investigations are needed to assist in a more accurate diagnosis. These include MRI scans, ultrasounds or CT scans.
Shin splints are generally caused by excess stretching of muscles and tendons along the shin bones (tibia and fibula). OVER USE in athletes by far is the most common factor.
Muscle imbalance, including weak core muscles, can cause lower-extremity injuries, plus inflexibility and tightness, all of which can lead to this painful condition.
Over-pronation of the feet is another major contributing factor. Excessive pronation is a biomechanical factor that leads to the internal rotation of the tibia, which in turn will increase the forces put upon the soft tissue due to the poor alignment. Footwear also plays a distinctive part as poor running/sports shoes will definitely contribute to the cause and decrease tolerance to load
Treatment and Relief
Preventing Shin Splints is very important, therefore it is essential for athletes and runners of all levels to slowly build up their level of activity, and always taking the time for a solid warm-up.
Rest and icing the inflammation can help with your pain, however, orthotics are very useful in that they control over-pronation and thereby help prevent internal leg rotation. Assessment and treatment of biomechanical factors is essential in most cases to the medium –long term treatment success. Strapping can also be very useful for short term treatment.
As previously mentioned, there are many ways to secure relief from shin splits. In many cases rest is simply essential. In fact, it is the critical in allowing shin splits to. Depending on the severity of the issue, however, physiotherapy would also beneficial for local treatment as well stretches and a strengthening regime.
Perhaps the most common treatment option is ice. In fact, icing your shin helps ease the pain, while bringing down the swelling. To secure maximum results, icing the shin should be done for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may even be prescribed by your physician. This includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Its best to be medically managed for this either through a sports physician or your GP.